The intensification of beef production has become a conservation target based on the idea of land sparing and the assumption that we must increase productivity in order to contain deforestation and the increasing demand for meat. There is also increasing attention to supply chain management in beef production.
Based on a historical comparison between the US, which has a fully intensive system, and Brazil, which is moving in that direction, the study suggests that cattle raising will intensify as a result of conservation investments (capital and land subsidies reduction) rather than intensifying in order to produce conservation outcomes.
However, if the comparison holds, the new intensive system will continue to require large natural resource inputs, government subsidies, and be plagued by social and conservation problems. It will also be held in thrall by a few large processing companies, which exert undue influence over both producers and consumers. Therefore, the study suggests to pay attention to attribution in claiming conservation outcomes from intensive beef production.