Much debate has centered on the actual areas of forest that have been cleared in the Brazilian Amazon. This paper pointed out that much of the clearance occurred in secondary forest ('capoeira') less than ten years old. Slash-and-burn was a traditional farming method that farmers continued to use because of lack of capital and alternatives. Most farmers had little idea of the potential value of trees that they cleared. The withdrawal of rural subsidies by the government meant that clearance had slowed over the past few years, but the authors felt that World Bank proposals for further disincentives to agriculture coupled with enhancement of the value of non-timber forest products would be better replaced by improvements to farming systems and infrastructure.