New land use scenarios for the Brazilian Amazonia: how to reach a sustainable future?
Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 9:30 AM
Following an intense deforestation process initiated in the 1960s, clear-cut deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon have decreased significantly since 2004. A convergence of conditions contributed to this, including the creation of protected areas, the use of effective monitoring and control systems, and credit restriction mechanisms. Although regional social indicators have also slightly improved, society remains unequal and violent, both in urban and rural areas. Furthermore, the combined results of the fall of deforestation and the increased economic importance of the agribusiness sector have led to the political weakening of the so-called socio-environmental model. Thus, the current situation indicates a future of low (clear-cut) carbon emissions and low social conditions. On the other hand, other threats remain, including forest degradation derived from illegal logging and forest fires. There is also considerable uncertainty about the fate of the remaining forest areas as multiple forces can contribute to the return of high deforestation, including the rapidly expanding global markets for agricultural commodities, large-scale transportation and energy infrastructure projects, and weak institutions. We present the results of a participatory scenario process, in which we discussed the future of the region until 2050 combining normative and exploratory approaches. We include an ideal “Sustainability” scenario (Scenario A) in which we envision major socioeconomic, institutional and environmental achievements. Scenario B stays in the “Middle of the road”, in which the society maintains some of the positive environmental trends of the last decade, but not reversing the structural situation of social inequities. Scenario C is a pessimistic vision, named “Fragmentation” with high deforestation rates and low social development. The goal of the work was twofold: (a) to propose a method to enrich the discussion among different private and governmental stakeholders on how to build a trajectory towards sustainability; (b) to support the parameterization of spatially-explicit LUCC models in the scope of the AMAZALERT project.