Intensification in agriculture-forest frontiers: Land use responses to development and conservation policies in Brazil
Garrett, Rachael D.
Lambin, Eric F.
le Polain de Waroux, Yann
Kastens, Jude H.
Brown, Christopher J.
- Journal Article
Deforestation associated with agricultural expansion, particularly that of extensive cattle ranching, remains a pressing challenge for sustainable development and climate mitigation efforts in South America. In response to these challenges, national and local governments, as well as private and non-governmental actors, have developed new forest conservation governance mechanisms. In addition to reducing deforestation for agricultural expansion, it is hoped that these policies may lead to the intensification of existing agricultural regions, thereby contributing to global food availability and continued rural development. The objective of this study is to understand the timing and spatial patterns of crop and pasture intensification in agriculture-forest frontiers in the context of changing conservation policies and rural development. We focus on Mato Grosso, the largest soy and cattle producing state in Brazil, which spans the Cerrado and Amazon biomes and has experienced among the highest levels of deforestation for agricultural expansion globally. Using econometric analysis of remotely sensed and agricultural survey data, we find that cropland and pasture intensification are both linked to increasing forest conservation restrictions and broader supply chain development. However, the effect of conservation restrictions on intensification is lower in regions where there is more forest remaining. While crop and pasture area dynamics are often coupled in agriculture-forest frontiers, crop intensification does not appear to have contributed to pasture intensification through animal feed production. Intensification of crop and pasture areas was associated with temporary, immediate reductions in local deforestation, but crop intensification was associated with increased deforestation over longer time periods. These results suggest that targeted investments in supply chain infrastructure in the Amazon frontier could promote intensification and relieve pressure to clear forests, but must be coupled with substantial, long-term negative incentives for deforestation, including more effective public forest governance and private zero-deforestation commitments. Show more
Journal / seriesGlobal Environmental Change
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit09659 - Garrett, Rachael / Garrett, Rachael
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