About 35 years ago the Brazilian government began promoting the Amazon as a new agricultural frontier. Few people, other than some perceptive environmentalists, predicted that this would ignite one of the most visible controversies of the last several decades. Today, roughly 600,000 square kilometres or 15% of the Brazilian Amazon has been deforested, an area about equal to Spain and Portugal together.
Although the reasons for extensive cattle ranching need to be known, they are no argument to justify this practice in the future. Cattle production can be made more intensive, profitable and conscious with the conservation of the forests relying on more intensive systems, sustained in the multifunctional use of the land.