Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non rural use. Examples of deforestation consist of conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use. Between May 2000 and August 2006, Brazil lost nearly 150,000 square kilometres of forest—an area bigger than Greece—and since 1970, more than 600,000 square kilometres of the Amazon rainforest has been ruined. In quite a lot of tropical countries, the majority of deforestation results from the actions of poor subsistence farmers. However, in Brazil only about one third of recent deforestation can be linked to farmers that have moved.
Historically, a large portion of deforestation in Brazil is due to land clearing for pastureland by commercial and exploratory interests, unwise government policies, inappropriate World Bank projects, commercial exploitation of forest resources, and farmers seeking to build cattle ranches so the better grazed cattle meat will sell for a higher price to big companies in Europe, for example, McDonald’s (burger meat).
One of the numerous reasons that the rate of deforestation differs is because of the economy. The decline in deforestation from 1988-1991 matched the economic slowdown during the period, while the fast rising rate of deforestation from 1993-1998 equalled Brazil's period of rapid economic growth. During bad times, ranchers and developers do not have the cash to rapidly expand their operations, while the government doesn’t have enough funds to sponsor programs like highways and allow tax breaks.
In addition, one of the major reasons is human settlement and the development of land. Large landowners clear huge sections of the Amazon for cattle land. Great areas of forest are cleared and are sometimes, for cattle feeding, planted with African savannah grasses. In a lot of cases, especially during times of high rise in prices, land is just cleared for investment