Agriculture and deforestation
April 27, 2017

The EU Common Agricultural Policy, soy, and forest destruction

Proposals for reform

The biggest cause of forest loss – accounting for around 70 per cent – is agricultural deforestation, notably for beef, soy, palm oil and commercial timber. Soy ranks as the second largest agricultural driver of deforestation after cattle products.

This report looks at the linkages between the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the expansion of soybean cultivation, which has been the largest source of agricultural deforestation over which the EU has a direct influence. The EU is involved mainly because European farmers rely on imported soy from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay to use as animal feed. Of all the soy meal consumed in the EU, 83 per cent goes in concentrate feed for pigs and poultry.

As the EU embarks on another round of CAP reform – intended to shape the policy framework after 2020 – this report assesses the extent to which extent the CAP is driving deforestation. It also looks at how changes to the CAP and some other policies might actively reduce the deforestation footprint of EU agriculture.

You can read a 20 page summary of the key findings of this report here.

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