Editor's Note: It is interesting to note that Greenpeace is taking credit for initiating this moratorium. Other organizations would likely dispute some of Greenpeace's claims. Greenpeace appears to be highly focused on this one region without really taking into account all of the influences on world grain demand and the marketing situation.



It's been a year since the start of a two-year moratorium on trading soy from freshly deforested areas of the Amazon. It's clear that it is having a positive impact and it looks like the Brazilian government is following suit with a land registration program.



After we spent three years investigating then exposing the environmental impacts of the expanding soy trade into the Amazon basin, McDonald's and other leading European food retailers formed a unique alliance with Greenpeace to demand action from soy traders to stop buying soy from deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. After a lot of pressure from this alliance, the U.S. commodities giants Cargill, ADM, Bunge and Brazilian-owned Maggi Group-along with the rest of the soy trade in Brazil-were brought to the negotiating table eventually agreeing to a two-year moratorium on buying soy from newly deforested land in the Amazon.



Eating up the Amazon
Soy is the leading cash crop in Brazil and soy farming-often illegal-is now a key cause, along with cattle ranching and illegal logging, of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Sounds horrible right? Well unfortunately, it gets worse. Violent conflict over land rights is not uncommon in the Amazon and most of this soy is actually being exported to Europe to feed chicken, pigs and cows for meat products. Our team looked beyond the fields and forests of Brazil to trace the entire soy chain from its beginnings in North American boardrooms, through Brazil to its ends in European feedlots, restaurants and supermarkets. Our findings were released in April 2006 in a landmark report: "Eating up the Amazon" that in part lead to the moratorium itself.



Firm commitments to change
A down-turn in the soy industry's economic fortunes has cooled the demand for new plantations, but it remains clear that the moratorium is also reducing deforestation in the rainforest. For example, the reduction in the planted area with soy in Santar