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Cattle a tough target in Amazon protection fight

Cattle a tough target in Amazon protection fight
The small plane is gliding over a mesmerizing landscape of green pasture interspersed by patches of forest, but Wayne Lindbergh keeps his eyes firmly glued to his laptop.

Below, where a map on his screen indicates forest stood last year, bare soil is charred brown by recent burning, another example of the widespread illegal deforestation of the Amazon forest that environmentalists blame on cattle ranchers.

"This is all new this year," says Lindbergh, a campaigner for the Greenpeace environmental group, earphones clamped to his head as he points to the screen of his laptop computer showing the latest satellite data on deforestation.

Soon thousands of cows will be chewing pasture on the freshly cleared land in Brazil's Amazon state of Para, just a tiny part of Brazil's 200-million-strong commercial cattle herd, the world's biggest, that makes it a beef superpower.

More than 70 million are in the Amazon area, three for every person. This is where the industry has grown fastest in recent years, a trend activists say is due to cheap land, widespread illegal clearing and weak government enforcement.

Now, buoyed by a landmark success in persuading the country's soy industry to avoid deforestation, activists are hoping to use consumer power to rein in the cattle industry.

AUTOR: Reuters

keep ones eyes glued
nespouštět oči (z něčeho)

soil charred by recent burning
země spálená nedávným vypalování porostu

to glide - plachtit
mesmerizing landscape - fascinující krajina
ilegal deforestation - nelegální odlesňování
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