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Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences | Geography Department | Biogeography | News | The breakdown of the Soviet Union forges a beef telecoupling between Brazil and Russia

The breakdown of the Soviet Union forges a beef telecoupling between Brazil and Russia

How do institutional shocks affect trade patterns and telecouplings? The breakdown of the Soviet Union provides an interesting example how such shocks can redistribute environmental footprints lastingly and over great distances. Florian Schierhorn and colleagues show in a paper just published in Global Food Security how Russia became the largest importer of Brazilian beef as a result of the collapse of its Russia’s livestock sector in the 1990s, and the emergence of Brazil as the leading global beef exporter in the early 2000s.

The dynamics of beef trade between Brazil and Russia and their environmental implications

 

Florian Schierhorn | Patrick Meyfroidt | Thomas Kastner| Tobias Kuemmerle| Alexander V. Prishchepov| Daniel Müller

 

Changes in the production or consumption of agricultural commodities in one place can drastically affect land use and the environment elsewhere. We show how changes in beef production and consumption in Russia following the breakdown of the Soviet Union in 1991 contributed to the emergence of a beef trade linkage between Brazil and Russia. We argue that the decline of Russian beef production after 1991, the rebound of domestic consumption since the late 1990s, the global beef trade constellation of the early 2000s, and the booming Brazilian cattle sector during the same periods forged a strong and lasting telecoupling in the beef trade between Brazil and Russia. As a result, Russia became the largest importer of both CO2 and non-CO2 emissions embodied in Brazilian beef exports since the 2000s. Our review exemplifies how the combination of institutional and socioeconomic shocks along with major changes in global markets can couple food systems and redistribute environmental footprints across long distances. Incorporating telecouplings in assessments of sustainable food systems is therefore important.

 

Link to the manuscript: DOI:10.1016/j.gfs.2016.08.001

Citation: Schierhorn, F., Meyfroidt, P., Kastner, T., Kuemmerle, T., Prishchepov, A.V. & Müller, D. (2016): The dynamics of beef trade between Brazil and Russia and their environmental implications. Global Food Security, in press