Simulating land use change trajectories of the Cerrado Hotspot reveals the  importance of considering private property sizes for biodiversity conservation

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Carina Barbosa Colman, Angélica Guerra, Fabio de Oliveira Roque, Isabel Rosa, Paulo Tarso Oliveira


Simulating future land use changes can be an important tool to support decisionmaking, especially in areas that are experiencing rapid anthropogenic pressure, such as
the Cerrado – Brazilian savanna. Here we used a spatially-explicit model to identify the
main drivers of native vegetation loss in the Cerrado, and then projected this loss for
2050 and 2070. We also analyzed the role of property size in complex Brazilian
environmental laws in determining different outcomes of these projections. Our results
show that distance to rivers, roads and cities, agricultural potential, permanent and
annual crop agriculture and cattle led to observed/historical loss of vegetation, while
protected areas prevented such loss. Assuming full adoption of the current Forest Code,
the Cerrado may lose 26.5 million ha (± 11.8 95% C.I.) of native vegetation by 2050
and 30.6 million ha (± 12.8 95% C.I.) by 2070, and this loss will occur mainly within
large properties. In terms of reconciling conservation and agricultural production, we
recommend that public policies focus primarily on large farms, such as protecting 30%
of the area of properties larger than 2500 ha, which would avoid a loss of more than 4.1
million hectares of native vegetation, corresponding to 13% of the predicted loss by



Life Sciences


agriculture, agrarian structure, environmental law, farms, vegetation loss


Published: 2021-05-24 14:31

Last Updated: 2021-05-24 21:31


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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