Ranching in South America
In Argentina, ranches are known as estancias, and in Brazil, they are called fazendas. In much of South America, including Ecuador and Colombia, the term hacienda may be used. Ranchero or Rancho are also generic terms used throughout Latin America.
In the colonial period, from the pampas regions of South America all the way to the Minas Gerais state in Brazil, including the semi-arid pampas of Argentina and the south of Brazil, were often well-suited to ranching, and a tradition developed that largely paralleled that of Mexico and the United States. The gaucho culture of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are among the cattle ranching traditions born during the period. However, in the 20th century, cattle raising expanded into less-suitable areas of the Pantanal. Particularly in Brazil, the 20th century marked the rapid growth of deforestation, as rain forest lands were cleared by slash and burn methods that allowed grass to grow for livestock, but also led to the depletion of the land within only a few years. Many of indigenous peoples of the rain forest opposed this form of cattle ranching and protested the forest being burnt down to set up grazing operations and farms. This conflict is still a concern in the region today.
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