Recent research and policy on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Brazil suggests that the least-cost, largest-scale mitigation option is for cattle ranchers to produce more on the land they already use. The rationale is that cattle ranching intensification programs (CRIPs) can speed yield-increasing technology adoption that delivers GHG benefits by sparing land to prevent deforestation and allow the production of more biofuels and other agricultural products. We draw on a literature review to assess the merits and viability of CRIPs in Brazil. Support for CRIPs is based on a series of premises: intensive cattle ranching technologies are already in commercial use; accelerating adoption is straightforward; increasing intensive ranching can reduce cattle product prices; reducing cattle product prices can reduce pasture area; reducing extensive cattle ranching in Brazil can deliver GHG benefits; CRIPs will deliver environmental and social benefits; and that the GHG benefits from CRIPs will exceed implementation costs. We argue for CRIPs trials as part of a broader effort to reduce several key data and science gaps crucial for assessing the impacts of CRIPs.
Cohn, A.; Bowman, M.; Zilberman, D.; O’Neill, K. The Viability of Cattle Ranching Intensificationin Brazil as a Strategy to Spare Land and Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Emissions. CCAFS Working Paper No. 11. CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Copenhagen, Denmark (2011) 40 pp.