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Estimating the Role of Seven Commodities in Agriculture-Linked Deforestation: Oil Palm, Soy, Cattle, Wood Fiber, Cocoa, Coffee, and Rubber

While agriculture is generally recognized to be a major driver of deforestation, few studies have attempted to estimate the role that particular commodities play in global deforestation, and even fewer have been spatially explicit. In this analysis, we estimate the extent to which seven commodities—oil palm, soy, cattle, plantation wood fiber, cocoa, coffee, and plantation rubber—are replacing forests, and map their impacts using the best available spatially explicit data. We report results for these seven commodities globally at the second administrative level (e.g., county, municipality, or other administrative subdivision, depending on the country), though the methods are flexible and could be applied to other commodities and geographic scales of analysis. To identify the specific commodities that have replaced forested land, we analyzed the overlap of current commodity extent with global annual tree cover loss from 2001 to 2018. We used recent, detailed crop and pasture maps for relevant regions and commodities where available, and supplemented them with coarser resolution global data where needed.

Executive Summary

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