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New Interactive Map Debunks Sugarcane/Amazon Deforestation Myths

by Joel Velasco on Jun 21, 2010

Detractors of sugarcane ethanol have made misinformed and false accusations alleging that sugarcane contributes to the deforestation of the Amazon. The SweeterAlternative.com team is excited to unveil a new, interactive map that shows this is simply untrue. We encourage you to explore the map, find out where cane is grown and how that relates to the location of the rainforest.

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Detractors of sugarcane ethanol have made misinformed and false accusations alleging that sugarcane contributes to the deforestation of the Amazon. The SweeterAlternative.com team is excited to unveil a new, interactive map that shows this is simply untrue. We encourage you to explore the map, find out where cane is grown and how that relates to the location of the rainforest.

Here are some facts for you to consider as you give the map a try:

  • Most sugarcane (90 percent) cultivated for ethanol production is harvested in South-Central Brazil, more than 1,500 miles away from the Amazon.
  • The rest (10 percent) is grown in Northeastern Brazil, over 1,000 miles from the Amazon’s eastern-most fringe.
  • To compare these distances using American cities, if the heart of the Amazon were located in Dallas, then most sugarcane cultivation would occur in New York City.
  • The sources of deforestation are well-documented. They are primarily a result of lack of land ownership and weak enforcement in a vast and highly remote area.
  • Researchers, including environmental organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), have confirmed that illegal logging and cattle ranching are likely the key drivers of deforestation in Brazil.

After you’ve taken a look, drop us a line and let us know your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you.

copyright 2010 Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association