Diversity of cattle raising systems and its effects over forest regrowth in a core region of cattle production in the Brazilian Amazon

Summary

Roughly 60% of all deforested lands in the Brazilian Amazon are covered with pastures, putting cattle raising in evidence as a major driver of deforestation and also of forests’ regrowth. Still, the role of cattle raising diversity in the landscape dynamics of this region remains poorly understood. To contribute to this discussion, we combined data from semi-structured interviews and quantitative spatially explicit methods to characterize and spatialize cattle raising systems and explore the effects of this diversity over secondary vegetation between 2004 and 2014 in Pará, a hotspot of deforestation and core region of cattle production.

We quantified the use of different pasture management strategies to classify small- and large-scale operations into systems with high or low impact against pastures’ degradation. High-impact systems were mapped in regions with consolidated infrastructure and high accumulated deforestation, where they expanded. On the contrary, low-impact systems were more widespread and found near forest frontiers, shrinking over time. High-impact systems had less secondary vegetation, while under low-impact systems, as a result of strategies with little or no effect against degradation, the historical pattern of concentration of this cover prevailed.

Better infrastructure and access to markets as well as higher accumulated deforestation are underlying conditions related to the emergence of intensification and, as it is still unclear whether intensification is indeed capable of sparing land, the expansion of intensive cattle raising systems has the potential to configure landscapes with reduced forested areas, either primary or secondary.

Information

Link to centre authors: Aguiar, Ana Paula
Full reference: Carvalho, R., de Aguiar, A.P.D. and Amaral, S., 2020. Diversity of cattle raising systems and its effects over forest regrowth in a core region of cattle production in the Brazilian Amazon. Regional Environmental Change, 20(2), pp.1-15.

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