Supporting Sustainable Live Stock Production and Reduced Deforestation in Latin America
Cattle Ranching is considered one of the main culprits of forest loss in Latin America, with pasture expansion responsible for more than two thirds of deforestation in the region.
Given this, the industry is now looking at ways to integrate more sustainable practices, including efforts to conserve forests, which in turn can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
To this end, the Government of Paraguay, with support from the UN-REDD Programme, held a workshop on sustainable cattle ranching and its relationship with forests in 2018. More than 100 participants from 10 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay) gathered in Asunción to discuss the state of sustainable livestock production and examine its links to goals, commitments, and international agreements on climate change and
It was the first time in Latin America that the UNREDD Programme had brought together these different stakeholders from outside the forest sector to consider how their industry impacts forests and discuss how it can contribute to climate changeMarco Chiu
“It was the first time in Latin America that the UNREDD Programme had brought together these different stakeholders from outside the forest sector to consider how their industry impacts forests and discuss how it can contribute to climate change,” explains Marco Chiu, a UN-REDD regional technical adviser. “It was a milestone accomplishment, and it showcased the programme’s commitment to support countries on addressing the drivers of deforestation.” According to Chiu, the workshop was valuable in serving as a regional platform in Latin America to facilitate dialogue between the Government, farmers, producers, traders, financial institutions, and international agencies, and in building trust and developing
Despite the different circumstances and policy frameworks in each participating country, there are commonalities that can help bolster sustainability efforts in the livestock sector across the region.
“The effort has to be focused on land-use planning and on land-use optimization in the territory, since it is not only about forests,” says Guillermo Terol, Programme Officer at the International Finance Corporation.
The workshop demonstrated that the industry poses a high degree of complexity, requires knowledge specificity and lacks a one-size-fits-all solution. Nevertheless, producers presented various innovative sustainable practices such as recycling waste; keeping patches of forest
– either as reserves, water streams, protection or wind barriers; and reducing the need for expansion through intensification.
“In Paraguay, sustainability means going beyond just complying with the law,” says Rosalía Goerzen of Cooperativa Fernheim. “The laws do not ask for forestland connectivity, but this is important. To conserve biodiversity, it is necessary that the reserves and the [forest buffer] strips are connected.”
Farmers are linked to their land, so more than work, it is a passion. There is a lot of biodiversity, but it is very fragile. In our region, the rancher is sustained by nature: if he doesn’t respect the biological processes, he will be left with nothing in a short time.Tiziana Prada
“Farmers are linked to their land, so more than work, it is a passion,” says Tiziana Prada, a rancher from Argentina. “There is a lot of biodiversity, but it is very fragile. In our region, the rancher is sustained by nature: if he doesn’t respect the biological processes, he will be left with nothing in a short time.”
As Marisa Candiani, a rancher from Mexico, explains, “Things well done are good for everyone. We don’t practice sustainable livestock for the certification seal, we do it because that’s how things should be done and because the land we are working on today is the same one that we will leave to our children.”
Government and global delegates to the 2018 workshop will continue to communicate and collaborate to promote the sustainable livestock agenda from their respective constituencies and to take advantage of the new network opportunities they discovered during the event. For example, Ecuador joined the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock as a result of the connections created in 2018.