Earth First

Soy Production | The Second Largest Driver of Deforestation

Jane Alice Liu

Soy has been a staple crop in Asian cultures for millennia, but today it has become of the world’s most essential and profitable agricultural commodities - and not for the reasons you’d expect. What’s really driving the expansion of soy cultivation? And what are its environmental impacts? 

Animation by Jaime Burton

Script & Narration by Jane Alice Liu

Article by Molly Grace Melvin

Here are some facts:

  • US & South American dominate production
  • Soy plant production takes up an area the size of France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands combined
  • Soy is the second largest driver of deforestation after beef
  • 80% - 90% of soy beans are feed to farmed animals
  • Only 6% is turned into produce for human consumption
  • To product the same amount of protein soy needs much less land than any animal product, in some cases up to 32 times more land is required for animals
  • If the world were to swap meat protein for soy protein agricultural deforestation would decline by as much as 94%.


2 Minute Watch
Published May 04 2023

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