Journal article by DPDF 2008 Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change fellow Peter Richards.
Changing demands for food and biofuel have reshaped global agricultural outlooks and pushed production in areas long considered too marginal for the widespread production of agricultural commodities. Perhaps no region has drawn more attention to the environmental impacts of expanding agricultural production than the Amazon. Considerations of indirect land use change have brought a new dimension to discussions related to the impacts of agriculture on the region’s forest cover. In this article, I provide a location-based conceptualization of indirect land use change that brings to light the intra-regional movement of capital and skills between the cattle and agriculture sectors. The article suggests that amid rapid increases in rents for soy production and land prices, ranchers face strong incentives to relocate their operations to forest regions.