Many people have come to accept that an ever expanding population means that a greater amount of deforestation must take place in order to create more land for farming however, this may not be the case. Scientists have recently suggested that it would be entirely possible to feed the world’s population without the need for any more deforestation taking place. The answer? A vegan diet.
The study by Erb et al in the Nature Communications journal in 2016 took into account a number of factors including agricultural technology, livestock systems, the extent of land as cropland or as grazing land and human diets to come up with hundreds of possible scenarios for future food security. A vegan diet made all of these scenarios plausible, with a vegetarian diet following closely behind with 94%, meaning that simply cutting out meat from diets would have huge impacts on the drivers behind deforestation.
This shows that human nutritional behaviour is one of the most important components in regard to stopping deforestation, as at current levels, it is estimated that the world’s rain forests may disappear in less than 100 years. Globally, a full change towards these lifestyles may not be very realistic, but the study does highlight the correlation between the difficulty of preserving forests when the consumption of animal products are rising, as 80% of global deforestation is for agriculture.
Figures have shown that the number of vegans in the UK alone has risen by 350% in the last decade, so there may be hope for our forests yet!