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.
The Viability of Cattle Ranching Intensification in Brazil as a Strategy to Spare Land and Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Emissions. CCAFS Working Paper No. 11.