The advent of the Amazon soy moratorium in 2006 seemed to usher in a new era of hope for ending deforestation for food production in the world’s largest rainforest. From the time that the participating companies agreed to cut deforestation-linked soy from their supply chains, Brazil lopped off a significant amount of its deforestation. But how much of that decrease resulted from the moratorium and not some other factor, like governmental conservation efforts? That’s the question environmental economist Robert Heilmayr and his colleagues tried to answer in research published Dec. 11 in the journal Nature Food. Their calculations suggest that deforestation between 2006 and 2016 was 35% lower than it would have been without the moratorium, likely keeping some 18,000 square kilometers (6,950 square miles) of the Amazon standing. “The goal of this research was really to pin down what the impact specifically of the moratorium was, and how it interacted with some of the government policies that were adopted,” said Heilmayr, an assistant professor of environmental and ecological economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Land newly tilled for soy in the southern Amazon. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Perhaps the most visible “zero-deforestation commitment” to date, the Amazon soy moratorium’s aim was to break the link between growing global demand for soybeans, mostly used to feed livestock, and the clearing of forest in the Brazilian Amazon to meet that demand. By signing onto the moratorium, soy-trading companies, including Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill, agreed not to…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer