We hear a lot about the importance of eating organic and eating local, but left out of the conversation are the growing methods of some of our staple foods, and how much forest land has been lost to grow (or raise) products like beef, rice, and palm oil—the latter of which is in more foods than you might realize.
When agricultural land becomes unproductive (usually after about three years), it is often cheaper to clear new land than to fertilize it or replenish nutrients that were drained from the soil. Monocrop agriculture is a major factor in how modern food production has become unsustainable, but coffee and banana production both serve as examples of smooth, successful transitions. They have been drivers of deforestation in the past, but more recently farmers have been using more intercropping and forest cover (ever heard of shade-grown coffee?), which helps to prevent deforestation and preserve biodiversity. This is surely due in no small part to activist campaigns waged in recent years to educate consumers and to generate change in the supply chains.
This is a quick look at common foods contributing the most to deforestation—and as a result, to climate change—around the world.