Beef–cattle ranching in the Paraguayan Chaco: typological approach to a livestock frontier

Maria Jose Milan Sendra*, Elizabeth Gónzalez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Paraguayan Chaco has experienced, in the last few decades, some of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. In parallel, this region has registered an increase in the number of cattle heads of 60% in the last decade. Taking into account the high environmental and socioeconomic impact of this expansion, the aim of this work was to reveal how Beef–cattle ranching is carried out and to establish a typology that allows us to identify the different land-use patterns followed by the ranches. Data were collected using face-to-face structured interviews of 80 ranch owners. In the region ranches co-exist that practise the cow–calf system, the whole-cycle system and the fattening system. In all cases, ranches are very large, pasture based, highly specialised in Beef–cattle and export-oriented. Three groups of ranches were identified, being the main differentiating drivers: (i) the availability of the different production factors, (ii) the distribution of total area, and (iii) the degree of intensification in the use of capital, labour and/or technology per unit of agricultural area. In addition, it is noted that the years of activity of the ranches are related to these drivers. The typology of ranches contributes to a better understanding of one of the most active livestock frontiers in the world and shows that the expansion process taking place in the Paraguayan Chaco is associated with an intensification of Beef–cattle systems. These results provide a useful approach to develop policies that regulate the expansion of the cattle frontier in the Paraguayan Chaco.
Translated title of the contributionEl bovino de carne en el Chaco Paraguayo: aproximación tipológica a una frontera ganadera
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5185-5210
Number of pages26
JournalEnvironment, development and sustainability
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2022


  • Farming systems
  • Principal component analysis
  • Sustainable development
  • Tropical deforestation


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