From 1990 to 2003, the cattle herd in the Legal Amazon grew by 140% from 26.6 million to 64 million heads. Increasing demand and the sector’s advantages in the Amazon suggest that ranching will continue to grow in the region. Nevertheless, the growth of extensive ranching in the region is worrying –especially because of increased deforestation. In this study, we analyze the causes of the rapid growth of cattle ranching in the Amazon and future scenarios for this activity. We also propose policies to reconcile cattle ranching development and environmental conservation.