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Reconciling local demands and conservation targets in Amazonia

Pinillos Cifuentes D.A., Poccard-Chapuis R., Corbeels M., Bianchi F.J.J.A., De Oliveira M., Schulte R.. 2018. In : ACES conference (A Community on Ecosystem Services): Linking Science, Practice, and Decision Making. Washington : UF; IFAS, p. 214-214. ACES 2018 conference, 2018-12-03/2018-12-06, Washington (Etats-Unis).

Deforestation rates in Brazil have undergone an unprecedented decline of more than 70% since 2005. Changes in policies, institutions and social movements provided a platform for this radical slowdown. Moreover, in 2012 a revised version of the Brazilian Forest Code determined that all rural properties in the Amazons should maintain between 50-80% of their area as native forest, known as Legal Reserves (LR), and 100% of the riparian forest. To achieve these targets, deforested properties should subscribe to an Environmental Regularization Plan (PRA). Nevertheless, recent research indicates that biodiversity and carbon storage are still decreasing in areas of eastern Amazonia due to forest fragmentation and degradation. The current government policies and mechanisms are not efficient at incentivizing PRA compliance, nor at connecting forest patches to create a structural network of connected habitats and optimize carbon storage. The Paragominas municipality is one of the oldest frontier towns in this region heading towards agricultural intensification and environmental conservation. We explore land use change scenarios in this area to decrease forest fragmentation while taking into account local economic demands. First, we applied the Functional Land Management framework to assess the spatial variability of three ecosystem services (ES): commodity production, carbon storage and habitat for biodiversity. This assessment was linked to a farm typology based on a survey of 40 farms, to farmers' perceptions on LR and ES using the Q methodology, and to jurisdictional agricultural and environmental policies. Land use changes were modelled in ArcGIS by simulating forest restoration in deforested areas with poor soils, and agricultural intensification on soils suitable for agriculture currently covered by degraded forest. Using FRAGSTAT 3.3 for spatial pattern analysis, we explored landscape scenarios where forest fragmentation decreases as compared to the current status. The goal of these scenarios was to optimize the allocation of agricultural land and forested areas according to soil characteristics, farm type and ES supply. Our interviews suggest that landowners show interest in building efficient landscapes based on these scenarios, as an alternative to the Forest Code requirements, which they perceive as an imposition that weakens local production. Thus, our models intend to reconcile federal conservation goals with local demands by taking a jurisdictional approach to harmonize local development, commodity chains and ES. This study combines technical aspects of ES with local demands for ES by actors in the area, and thus contributes to the ongoing discussion of an integrated zoning for the agricultural sector in eastern Amazonia. This is nevertheless a complex process that involves a multidimensional assessment and ample negotiations among an array of stakeholders across scales.

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