Farmers have long known that the rainforests are a critical habitat for wildlife.
They’ve also known that they can help feed the planet.
Now, however, a growing body of research suggests that the world is increasingly reliant on agriculture to keep the world fed.
That could be bad news for the world’s rainforesters.
The global demand for agricultural products has risen rapidly over the past few decades, which is why they are often the first targets of environmental groups and the most vulnerable in the world.
But, as the BBC’s Will Grant reports from Brazil, the rapid growth of food production also means that the need to conserve the worlds rainfores has increased as well.
What happens when a food source is no longer available?
Farmers have always been able to depend on rainforets to feed their families.
But for the past 20 years, the global demand has increased rapidly, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).
Between 2000 and 2015, the world spent more than $600bn on agricultural products.
But that growth has slowed sharply since then, the WFP said.
What’s driving this?
The biggest contributor to this trend is the rise in agricultural commodity prices, which have grown at an average rate of almost 10% per year over the last decade.
That has pushed up food prices and forced many farmers to close down their farms.
In some cases, this has resulted in the loss of jobs, or the loss a family has to make when it goes to the supermarket.
The food that farmers produce is increasingly being eaten by animals.
This, coupled with climate change, has caused the global population to expand by an estimated one billion people.
The WFP is currently projecting that by 2050 the population will double, and that by 2100 it will hit 7 billion people worldwide.
What about the animals?
For the last 10 years, researchers have been looking at how animals like the bison, deer and sheep are being affected by this food crisis.
The study was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which aims to protect the world´s wildlife by helping them adapt to changes in their habitat and to managing the effects of climate change.
“There is a lot of research about what is happening to the animals that depend on agriculture, the food that they eat,” said Dr Caroline Levene, a researcher at the WWF-led Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
“But this study, which was commissioned at the request of the World Resources Institute (WRI), is a first step in understanding exactly how the food supply is changing.”
The researchers found that in areas where farmers are increasingly reliant upon livestock for their livelihoods, they were being displaced by a greater number of species.
In other words, as more people moved into farming regions, they increased the number of wild animals that were also migrating in to compete with them.
What does this mean for rainforest conservation?
The researchers also looked at the impact of changes in rainfall on ecosystems.
They found that, since the mid-1980s, rainfall has dropped across most of the rain-forested areas that were examined.
They also found that over the same period, agricultural production has increased.
The research shows that, despite these changes in the rain forest, it is increasingly possible to support animals that would otherwise be at risk of extinction.
What are some other examples of the impacts of changing rainfall patterns?
The study found that rainfall in parts of the Amazon basin had decreased by more than 40% between 2000 and 2010.
In places like Brazil, where the Amazon is now one of the most productive areas in the World, this could have been catastrophic.
The researchers said that if we were to continue with this trend, there is a very real chance that many of the plants that rely on the rain forests could be wiped out.
What is the WRI doing about this?
As part of its research, the researchers have also conducted a global survey of the global livestock industry.
The results show that the numbers of animals being slaughtered for food are increasing in many parts of Brazil.
This is because, in the past, people were often buying their animals from farmers who were already doing well, the study found.
But the WPI is now monitoring the situation in the Amazon, and working with local governments and NGOs to identify where it could be changing.
How can you protect the rainier parts of our planet?
The WPI has identified a number of key measures that farmers should take to protect their forests.
They can reduce the amount of feed they use by using less water.
They should also change their agricultural practices, including choosing plants that have a shorter growing season and a smaller area of land to graze.
They must also change how they are using chemicals and fertilisers to control weeds and pests.
What can you do if you are a farmer in need of help?
If you’re a farmer who is concerned about the impacts on your land, you should call the WTI on 1800 643