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Brazilian public protection regulations and the preservation of ecosystem services and biodiversity
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Sustainability Assessment and Management. (Environmental Management and Assessment)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8313-5845
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Brazil is significant for sustaining ecosystems services and biodiversity of global importance. However, the expansion of forestry and agriculture to supply national and international markets often results in loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity. Public protection regulations play a crucial role in setting limits for agricultural expansion. This thesis aims at improving the understanding of the potential impacts of prevailing policies in the preservation of ecosystem services and biodiversity associated with the native vegetation in Brazil. The Land Use Governance Assessment (LUGA) model was developed to simulate the implementation of existing public protection regulations, in particular, the Brazilian Forest Act.

The results suggest that command and control regulations do not protect about 28 % of the above-ground carbon in Brazil. The regularisation process of undesignated land is expected to expand protection to an additional 18 % of the above-ground carbon stocks, leaving about 10 % of the carbon stocks unprotected. On the other hand, the preservation of viable populations of several threatened mammal species is highly dependent on an urgent expansion of protected areas in the Cerrado and Caatinga biomes. Furthermore, the results from this thesis indicate that offsetting legal deficit of native vegetation may have little or no additional effects on the protection of native vegetation. The potential loss of forest protection due to reduced legal reserve requirements in the Amazon could potentially range from 6.5 Mha to more than 15 Mha.

There are critical gaps in the land use policies in Brazil that threaten the preservation of ecosystem services and biodiversity associated with native vegetation. Market-driven mechanisms can potentially contribute to filling this gap, protecting nature beyond the legal requirements. Yet, additional regulations may be necessary to improve the efficiency of the trading system of legal deficit of native vegetation among farmers, ensuring environmental and socio-economic functions of this system, and effectively balancing production with conservation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2019. , p. 64
Series
TRITA-ABE-DLT ; 1920
Keywords [en]
Brazil; Native vegetation, forest conservation, Brazilian Forest Act, Protected areas, Ecosystem services, Biodiversity
National Category
Environmental Management
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-251513ISBN: 978-91-7873-234-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-251513DiVA, id: diva2:1315804
Public defence
2019-06-11, Room F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC20190515

Available from: 2019-05-15 Created: 2019-05-14 Last updated: 2019-05-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Offsetting legal deficits of native vegetation among Brazilian landholders: Effects on nature protection and socioeconomic development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Offsetting legal deficits of native vegetation among Brazilian landholders: Effects on nature protection and socioeconomic development
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2017 (English)In: Land use policy, ISSN 0264-8377, E-ISSN 1873-5754, Vol. 68, p. 189-199Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Brazilian native vegetation supports essential ecosystem services and biodiversity for the global society, whileland use competition may intensify around the increasing needs for food, fibre and bioenergy. The Brazilian Forest Actof 2012 amplified a market-based mechanism for offsetting native vegetation deficits in private farmlands. Thismechanism enables a large-scale trading system allowing landholders to offset their own deficits of native vegetationby purchasing certificates associated with a surplus of native vegetation from other landholders. This mechanism is analternative for the more expensive restoration of native vegetation on own land. The launching of the mechanism nowdepends on specific regulations at state level, which may include geographical restrictions for offsetting deficits. Theaim of this study is to evaluate the effects in nature protection and socio-economic development of different offsettingimplementation alternatives. Our findings suggest that in a business-as-usual scenario the offsetting mechanism mayhave little or no additional effects on protection of native vegetation, because most of the offsetting is likely to takeplace where native vegetation is already protected by prevailing legislations. We concluded that it is possible tomaximise environmental and socio-economic returns from the offsetting mechanism without undermining productiveland. This would be possible if regulations ensure additionality in nature protection while enabling a self-sustainingmechanism for income generation for small-scale family farmers in the poorest region of Brazil, protecting biodiversityand counteracting major trade-offs between ecosystem services.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keywords
Native vegetation, Offsetting, Brazilian Forest Act, Land use policy, Additionality, Socio-economic development
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-211190 (URN)10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.07.014 (DOI)000413126200019 ()2-s2.0-85027278145 (Scopus ID)
Funder
StandUp
Note

QC 20170808

Available from: 2017-07-20 Created: 2017-07-20 Last updated: 2019-05-14Bibliographically approved
2. Who owns the Brazilian carbon?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Who owns the Brazilian carbon?
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2018 (English)In: Global Change Biology, ISSN 1354-1013, E-ISSN 1365-2486, Vol. 24, p. 2129-2142Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Brazil is one of the major contributors to land-use change emissions, mostly driven by agricultural expansion for food, feed and bioenergy feedstock. Policies to avoid deforestation related to private commitments, economic incentives, and other support schemes are expected to improve the effectiveness of current command and control mechanisms increasingly. However, until recently, land tenure was unknown for much of the Brazilian territory, which has undermined the governance of native vegetation and challenged support and incentive mechanisms for avoiding deforestation. We assess the total extent of public governance mechanisms protecting aboveground carbon (AGC) stocks. We constructed a land tenure dataset for the entire nation and modeled the effects and uncertainties of major land-use acts on protecting AGC stocks. Roughly 70% of the AGC stock in Brazil is estimated to be under legal protection, and an additional 20% is expected to be protected after areas in the Amazon with currently undesignated land undergo a tenure regularization. About 30% of the AGC stock is on private land, of which roughly two-thirds are protected. The Cerrado, Amazon and Caatinga biomes hold about 40%, 30% and 20% of the unprotected AGC, respectively. Effective conservation of protected and unprotected carbon will depend on successful implementation of the Forest Act, and regularization of land tenure in the Amazon. Policy development that prioritizes unprotected AGC stocks is warranted to promote conservation of native vegetation beyond the legal requirements. However, different biomes and land tenure structures may require different policy settings considering local and regional specifics. Finally, the fate of current AGC stocks relies upon effective implementation of command and control mechanisms, considering that unprotected AGC in native vegetation on private land only accounts for 6.5% of the total AGC stock.

National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-219436 (URN)10.1111/gcb.14011 (DOI)2-s2.0-85044789716 (Scopus ID)
Funder
StandUp
Note

QC 20171212

Available from: 2017-12-06 Created: 2017-12-06 Last updated: 2019-05-14Bibliographically approved
3. Potential increase of legal deforestation in Brazilian Amazon after Forest Act revision
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Potential increase of legal deforestation in Brazilian Amazon after Forest Act revision
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2018 (English)In: Nature Sustainability, Vol. 1, p. 665-670Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Brazilian Amazon rainforest is protected largely by command and control regulation of public and private land. The Brazilian Forest Act requires private landholders within the Amazon to set aside 80% of their land as legal reserves for nature protection, but this requirement can be reduced to 50% if more than 65% of a state’s territory is protected public land (for example, public conservation units and indigenous reserves). In the ongoing land designation process in Brazil, some Amazonian states may cross this 65% threshold. We assess the potential reduction in the legal reserve requirement from 80% to 50%, through spatially explicit modelling of scenarios concerning land tenure consolidation, employing up-to-date databases on land ownership. Depending on the outcome of land designation processes and political priorities, some 6.5–15.4 million hectares of private land previously protected as legal reserves may become available for legal deforestation. While protection of public land is crucial for safeguarding the Amazon, revisions of federal and state legislation may be needed to avoid the further extension of protected public land triggering increased legal deforestation on private lands. Zero-deforestation commitments and other initiatives may mitigate impacts in the absence of such revision.

National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-238667 (URN)10.1038/s41893-018-0171-4 (DOI)000450118100012 ()2-s2.0-85056455572 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20181207

Available from: 2018-11-07 Created: 2018-11-07 Last updated: 2019-05-14Bibliographically approved
4. Recent political development threaten terrestrial mammal diversity in Brazil
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Recent political development threaten terrestrial mammal diversity in Brazil
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Recent political developments may weaken the legal protection of native vegetation in Brazil, which holds large areas of high biodiversity value. We assess the extent to which legislation protects terrestrial mammal species in Brazil. To this end, we quantify the natural population of mammal species in each fragment of native vegetation and relating this quantification to relevant legislation. We also assess the urgency of interventions to improve the protection of the mammal species. The results indicate that the legislation concerning private and public lands protects at least 40%, and about one-third, of the habitats where half of the threatened mammal species live, respectively. In scenarios of full compliance with relevant legislation, at least 40% of habitats supporting about one-third of these species are unprotected or undesignated lacking command and control regulations protecting the native vegetation. The implications of these results are discussed in light of recent policy developments in Brazil.

Keywords
Forest Act, biodiversity, mammal, land use change, governance, Amazon, Brazil.
National Category
Environmental Management
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-251512 (URN)
Note

QC 20190619

Available from: 2019-05-14 Created: 2019-05-14 Last updated: 2019-06-19Bibliographically approved

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