Published today, a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society Biological Sciences, addresses a major challenge facing our society: feeding a global population that is simultaneously growing and increasing its per capita food consumption, while preventing widespread ecological and social impoverishment.
According to Michael T. Coe, Senior Scientist at The Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) and one of the issue's co-editors, "One important finding presented in these papers is that landowners respond quickly to external and internal forces, particularly signals from government and market forces to be better land stewards."
The special issue contains 18 articles from researchers in Brazil, the United States, and Europe. The articles focus on the agricultural transformation of the southeastern Amazon and address three primary topics:
Primary conclusions of the papers include:
Analysis shows that MT's development from 1990 to 2005 was largely based on economic activities that resulted in deforestation, forest degradation, and associated socio-ecological consequences. During this period, approximately 70,000 km2 of forests were converted to low-productivity pasturelands, which degraded streams, increased disturbance (for example, via escaped forest fires), and altered the regional climate. Policies enacted as early as 2004 began reversing those trends. The national standard for Brazil was to set policies to reduce Amazon deforestation by 80 per cent by 2020; MT formulated its own goals, achieving remarkable results by the late 2000s.
Emphasizing this, lead-editor Paulo
|Contact: Ian Vorster|
Woods Hole Research Center