| ||In this region, where the density of vegetation precludes any other access to forestry sites, floating logs down the river is the most profitable means of transportation. Brazil is the world's fifth largest producer of industrial wood and the second largest supplier of tropical hardwood. But this a major economic contribution seriously damages the Rainforest, which has already lost over 16% of its original surface area. Although some of those who exploit the forest are beginning to promote the benefits of a forest protected over a devastated one, the deforestation rate keeps on increasing. Conflicts of interests can be bloody: in February 2005, a series of murders carried out by pistoleiros, financed by unscrupulous businesses, led the government to turn a 5-million-hectare area into a protected zone closed to forestry. But the timber trade is not the only cause. Deforestation in the Amazon is also linked to the expansion of soya crops, which are exported to industrialized countries for use as fodder for cattle, thus furthering an increasingly intensive cattle breeding equally harmful to the environment.
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