Achieving low-carbon cattle ranching in the Amazon: ‘Pasture sudden death’ as a window of opportunity

Marraiane A. Silva, Mendelson Lima, Carlos A. Silva Junior, Gerlane M. Costa, Carlos A. Peres

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Livestock farming is the key sector that can most contribute to low-carbon agriculture in the Amazon, the region of Brazil that stands most to gain from land-use intensification and most to lose from further primary habitat loss. Cattle pastures affected by the ‘sudden death’ syndrome, which has decimated exotic grass pastures across seven Amazonian states, have forced cattle ranchers to begin renewing their grazing lands. Vast areas of pasture die-off create an opportunity to catalyse livestock intensification through public policies. More productive livestock husbandry results in avoided deforestation, mitigation of methane emissions from enteric digestion, and the release of vast previously deforested areas to either more intensive agriculture or forest restoration. This, however, comes with a cautionary note as the much debated promising paradigm of agricultural intensification remains largely untested as a land-sparing strategy across the humid tropics. Well-designed government subsidies will, therefore, be required to ensure that thousands of landowners can take advantage of this opportunity with minimal environmental side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3535-3543
Number of pages9
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number10
Early online date10 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • avoided deforestation
  • GHG
  • livestock
  • methane emissions
  • pasture degradation

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