In a far-flung stretch of the Brazilian Amazon, the dense rainforest is slowly giving way to neat rows of oil palm that stretch for miles. Beyond the plantations, a narrow strip of forest – some of it already razed – separates the plantations from the Waimiri-Atroari Indigenous Territory. There, in Brazil’s northern state of Roraima, cultivation of oil palm has surged over the last decade, fueled by an ambitious push towards biofuels. Plantations covered some 10,107 hectares across the municipalities of Rorainópolis, São João da Baliza, Caroebe and São Luiz in 2020, according to environmentalists studying the crop’s advance in the region. But this push towards palm oil is coming at a cost, observers warn. While the industry claims it does not deforest, critics say it is contributing to a surge in demand for cleared land in this region. This is driving cattle ranchers, soy farmers and land speculators deeper into the forest, said Lucas Ferrante, a biologist and researcher with the National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA). “Those cattle ranchers will earn a huge pile of money from [selling] this land and they will migrate to areas that haven’t been deforested yet,” said Ferrente, who is studying the impacts of palm oil in the Amazon. “And they will start deforesting all over again.” The forests of Roraima are home to many different kinds of animals, such as silky anteaters (Cyclopes didactylus). Image by Quinten Questel via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) For years, Roraima’s remote location helped it…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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