From 2001 to 2012, Brazil was responsible, on average, for three-quarters of the deforestation in the Amazon Basin, primarily through ranching and large-scale agriculture. But as national forest laws are becoming more enforceable, settlers in the Amazon are clearing less land—and in some cases even letting forests grow back. Ranchers participating in Conservancy-sponsored training are intensifying production through better animal husbandry practices such as rotational grazing, which helps them produce more cattle per acre instead of clearing forest. Photo © Kevin Arnold

Outtakes: Amazon Reforestation

April/May 2016

To photograph a story about how Brazilian landowners are helping reforest the Amazon, Kevin Arnold visited many spots, including ranches, farms and tribal lands, as well as the home of a family who hosted him overnight when his boat’s motor stopped working. He and some staffers from The Nature Conservancy had just spent a week visiting ranches and were on an eight-hour boat journey via the Bacaja River to the Xikrin tribal lands when the “potential disaster” turned out to be “incredibly beautiful,” he says.

“We swam in the river with the kids and fished for piranhas,” Arnold says. “We spent the night surrounded by the sound of howling monkeys and other Amazon sounds that were all new to us.” After a boat arrived the next day, everyone agreed that the detour “turned out to be a very interesting and cool experience, as these things so often are,” he says.

We couldn’t include all of our favorite photos from the Amazon reforestation shoot in the magazine. Here, the editors rounded up some of the best outtakes that didn’t make it into print. (See more photos and read the story from our April/May 2016 issue here).

At deforestation’s peak in 2004, about 10,700 square miles of the country’s Amazon forest were cut down in a single year. The problem was especially acute in the state of Pará in large part because it is home to the largest cattle herd in the country, at more than 2 million head. Now ranchers like Adriano Pereira Alves and Luiz Martins Reis Neto are helping grow it back. Reis Neto became an early adopter of Conservancy-sponsored training aimed at improving grazing and animal husbandry practices and has tripled his cattle without clearing any new forest. Photo © Kevin Arnold
At deforestation’s peak in 2004, about 10,700 square miles of the country’s Amazon forest were cut down in a single year. The problem was especially acute in the state of Pará in large part because it is home to the largest cattle herd in the country, at more than 2 million head. Now ranchers like Adriano Pereira Alves and Luiz Martins Reis Neto are helping grow it back. Reis Neto became an early adopter of Conservancy-sponsored training aimed at improving grazing and animal husbandry practices and has tripled his cattle without clearing any new forest. Photo © Kevin Arnold
In April 2009, the Conservancy was invited to the state of Pará, where this farm is located, by a meat-packing company that was having problems finding suppliers in compliance with the country’s forest code. First passed in 1965, the code required (among other things) that Amazon landowners set aside 50 to 80 percent of their land as protected forest. Photo © Kevin Arnold
In April 2009, the Conservancy was invited to the state of Pará, where this farm is located, by a meat-packing company that was having problems finding suppliers in compliance with the country’s forest code. First passed in 1965, the code required (among other things) that Amazon landowners set aside 50 to 80 percent of their land as protected forest. Photo © Kevin Arnold
São Félix do Xingu, a Brazilian county in the state of Pará where this farm is located, saw almost 300 square miles of its forests felled in 2008, the highest rate of municipal deforestation in the entire Amazon. The situation was so bad that the county had been added to a environmental blacklist generated by the federal government. Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has been slowly but steadily decreasing since 2004. In 2014, less than 60 square miles of forest was cleared in São Félix. Photo © Kevin Arnold
São Félix do Xingu, a Brazilian county in the state of Pará where this farm is located, saw almost 300 square miles of its forests felled in 2008, the highest rate of municipal deforestation in the entire Amazon. The situation was so bad that the county had been added to a environmental blacklist generated by the federal government. Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has been slowly but steadily decreasing since 2004. In 2014, less than 60 square miles of forest was cleared in São Félix. Photo © Kevin Arnold
The Xikrin community lands are on the banks Rio Bacaja. Twenty-three percent of Brazil’s Amazon consists of indigenous lands, whose collective territory covers an area almost equal to Texas and California combined. Photo © Kevin Arnold
The Xikrin community lands are on the banks Rio Bacaja. Twenty-three percent of Brazil’s Amazon consists of indigenous lands, whose collective territory covers an area almost equal to Texas and California combined. Photo © Kevin Arnold
A Xikrin community member catches fish in the Rio Bacaja. The Xikrin land is one of 32 areas selected by the Brazilian government for an environment management pilot project in indigenous lands. Photo © Kevin Arnold
A Xikrin community member catches fish in the Rio Bacaja. The Xikrin land is one of 32 areas selected by the Brazilian government for an environment management pilot project in indigenous lands. Photo © Kevin Arnold
In 2014, the Conservancy launched an ethnomapping project with the Xirkin to clarify their territorial boundaries and track nearby development. Community members use GPS to mark areas of forest that are culturally significant, such as foraging areas and hunting grounds. By partnering with tribes and federal agencies, the Conservancy is helping groups like the Xikrin take their first steps in the long road to keeping their traditional lands intact. Photo © Kevin Arnold
In 2014, the Conservancy launched an ethnomapping project with the Xikrin to clarify their territorial boundaries and track nearby development. Community members use GPS to mark areas of forest that are culturally significant, such as foraging areas and hunting grounds. By partnering with tribes and federal agencies, the Conservancy is helping groups like the Xikrin take their first steps in the long road to keeping their traditional lands intact. Photo © Kevin Arnold
Whatever happens in the Amazon Basin will affect far more than just Brazil. The country is the world’s seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with just over 30 percent caused by deforestation in 2014. Photo © Kevin Arnold
Whatever happens in the Amazon Basin will affect far more than just Brazil. The country is the world’s seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with just over 30 percent caused by deforestation in 2014. Photo © Kevin Arnold

— NCM

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