Cattle Ranching is the main causes of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon region. This paper analyses the proximate causes of deforestation using linear regressions with panel data. The model evaluates the contribution of the main land uses for deforestation from 2000 to 2006. Deforestation data from INPE-PRODES, number of heads of cattle, and area of temporary and permanent crops from IBGE are the data used in the analysis (782 municipalities). The result of the regressions shows that deforestation is strongly associated with cattle ranching. Soybean plantations are also strongly related with deforestation in the model. This trend is reinforced by the growth in demand for meat in the domestic and international markets. To be effective in reducing deforestation rates, public policies must therefore act on the underlying causes of deforestation, reducing the forces that lead to its expansion on the area where deforestation is occurring.
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