Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, dubbed the “Trump of the Tropics,” has promised to reshape Brazil in many new ways. One of the most consequential is his pledge to further exploit the Amazon, harvesting the world’s largest tropical rainforest for resources and opening up more Indigenous lands to agriculture and infrastructure projects.
This series looks at the potential consequences of his pledges to expand deforestation. Brazil already is a major player in global agricultural trade, and China may be hungry to import more. A recent study found that increased soybean production could cause up to 32 million acres of deforestation in the Amazon over the next several years. In the first month of Bolsonaro’s presidency, deforestation increased by more than 400 percent. The Amazon, which produces one-fifth of the world’s oxygen, is crucial to any future efforts to combat climate change.