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Including Carbon Emissions from Deforestation in the Carbon Footprint of Brazilian Beef

Cederberg, C; Persson, UM; Neovius, K; Molander, S and Clift, R (2011) In Environmental Science & Technology 45(5). p.1773-1779
Abstract
Effects of land use changes are starting to be included in estimates of life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so-called carbon footprints (CFs), from food production. Their omission can lead to serious underestimates, particularly for meat. Here we estimate emissions from the conversion of forest to pasture in the Legal Amazon Region (LAR) of Brazil and present a model to distribute the emissions from deforestation over products and time subsequent to the land use change. Expansion of cattle ranching for beef production is a major cause of deforestation in the LAR. The carbon footprint of beef produced on newly deforested land is estimated at more than 700 kg CO(2)-equivalents per kg carcass weight if direct land use emissions are... (More)
Effects of land use changes are starting to be included in estimates of life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so-called carbon footprints (CFs), from food production. Their omission can lead to serious underestimates, particularly for meat. Here we estimate emissions from the conversion of forest to pasture in the Legal Amazon Region (LAR) of Brazil and present a model to distribute the emissions from deforestation over products and time subsequent to the land use change. Expansion of cattle ranching for beef production is a major cause of deforestation in the LAR. The carbon footprint of beef produced on newly deforested land is estimated at more than 700 kg CO(2)-equivalents per kg carcass weight if direct land use emissions are annualized over 20 years. This is orders of magnitude larger than the figure for beef production on established pasture on non deforested land. While Brazilian beef exports have origmated mainly from areas outside the LAR, i.e. from regions not subject to recent deforestation, we argue that increased production for export has been the key driver of the pasture expansion and deforestation in the LAR during the past decade and this should be reflected in the carbon footprint attributed to beef exports. We conclude that carbon footprint standards must include the more extended effects of land use changes to avoid giving misleading information to policy makers, retailers, and consumers. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Environmental Science & Technology
volume
45
issue
5
pages
1773 - 1779
publisher
The American Chemical Society
external identifiers
  • scopus:79952150603
ISSN
1520-5851
DOI
10.1021/es103240z
project
BECC
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
828c7cb0-d45b-4bc9-bbf3-e39c7a887f83 (old id 4448674)
date added to LUP
2014-05-23 12:11:25
date last changed
2017-11-05 03:50:46
@article{828c7cb0-d45b-4bc9-bbf3-e39c7a887f83,
  abstract     = {Effects of land use changes are starting to be included in estimates of life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so-called carbon footprints (CFs), from food production. Their omission can lead to serious underestimates, particularly for meat. Here we estimate emissions from the conversion of forest to pasture in the Legal Amazon Region (LAR) of Brazil and present a model to distribute the emissions from deforestation over products and time subsequent to the land use change. Expansion of cattle ranching for beef production is a major cause of deforestation in the LAR. The carbon footprint of beef produced on newly deforested land is estimated at more than 700 kg CO(2)-equivalents per kg carcass weight if direct land use emissions are annualized over 20 years. This is orders of magnitude larger than the figure for beef production on established pasture on non deforested land. While Brazilian beef exports have origmated mainly from areas outside the LAR, i.e. from regions not subject to recent deforestation, we argue that increased production for export has been the key driver of the pasture expansion and deforestation in the LAR during the past decade and this should be reflected in the carbon footprint attributed to beef exports. We conclude that carbon footprint standards must include the more extended effects of land use changes to avoid giving misleading information to policy makers, retailers, and consumers.},
  author       = {Cederberg, C and Persson, UM and Neovius, K and Molander, S and Clift, R},
  issn         = {1520-5851},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {1773--1779},
  publisher    = {The American Chemical Society},
  series       = {Environmental Science & Technology},
  title        = {Including Carbon Emissions from Deforestation in the Carbon Footprint of Brazilian Beef},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es103240z},
  volume       = {45},
  year         = {2011},
}