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Forestry and Agriculture in Brazilian Rainforests. Aaron Anderson Andrew Johnson Tyler McFadden Matt Saiget Karl Smith. Overview. Drivers of land conversion Ecological consequences of forest conversion Current Sustainable methods and Implementation Agroforestry Practices

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Forestry and Agriculture in Brazilian Rainforests

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Forestry and agriculture in brazilian rainforests

Forestry and Agriculture in Brazilian Rainforests

Aaron Anderson

Andrew Johnson

Tyler McFadden

Matt Saiget

Karl Smith



  • Drivers of land conversion

  • Ecological consequences of forest conversion

  • Current Sustainable methods and Implementation

  • Agroforestry Practices

  • Agroforestry Successes in Brazil

Drivers of land conversion

Drivers of Land Conversion


Drivers of land conversion1

Drivers of Land Conversion


Drivers of land conversion2

Drivers of Land Conversion


  • Tax breaks make agriculture financially attractive

  • Small scale farming operations do not pay taxes on land

  • Land tenure laws favor utilization

Drivers of land conversion3

Drivers of Land Conversion


  • Currently 500,000 small farmers in the Amazon

  • Increasing population increases demand

  • Rural areas tend o rely on local resources

  • Lack of modern farming and ranching technology

Ecological consequences

Ecological Consequences

  • Soil health

    • Most nutrients in vegetation easily lost

    • Deforestation or fire results in loss of N, P, S, and C (Kauffman et al. 1995)

  • Carbon Stocks

    • Contained in vegetation

    • Average: 220 t/ha

    • Declining 0.42% /year (FAO 2011)

Ecological consequences1

Ecological Consequences

  • Fire susceptibility

    • Wildfire rarely occurs in tropical rainforest

    • Deforestation  microclimate changes  increased fire risk (Uhl and Kauffman 1990)

  • Biodiversity

    • Very high

    • Habitat loss and fragmentation (Laurance et al. 2002)

Ecological consequences2

Ecological Consequences

  • Canopy and Biomass

    -Land conversion to agriculture releases carbon (Schroth et. al)

    -Secondary regrowth on site “re-assimilates part of the carbon released through cutting and burning” (Schrothet. al)

    -Carbon accumulation occurs in timber biomass and soil in secondary regrowth and has great potential when combined with agroforestry (Schroth et. al)

  • Spatial Arrangement

    -Net productivity related to spatial arrangement

    -bearing capacity, nutrient availability -> adjacency, shade, competition or cooperation

Current sustainable methods and implementation

Current Sustainable Methods and Implementation

Current Sustainable Practices include

  • Agroforestry

  • Intercropping

  • Apiculutre (Honey Harvesting)

  • Pisciculture (Raising of fish)

  • Majority of sustainable farmers also have a lot dedicated to slash and burn agriculture to reduce risk and diversify household income.

Current sustainable methods and implementation1

Current Sustainable Methods and Implementation

Adoption and implementation of sustainable agricultural practices is very slow to to any reason which include:

  • market failures, capital, imperfect information, and/or income constraints.

  • virtual absence of credit available to rural farmers, study suggest that when given credit, farmers not only invest in sustainable practices, they deforest smaller portions of their lots.

  • Limited variety of markets which include staples of beans, corn, manioc, rice, and coffee. Harvesting sustainable agricultural products such as vitamins, fruits, pulps, nuts, ice creams and candies (flavoring) could increase the income potential and attractiveness of the agriculture technique in turn increasing its adoption rate.

Agroforestry successes

Agroforestry Successes

Mata Atlantica

  • Problems include Deforestation, poverty, and crime

  • Agroforestry practices implemented to provide jobs and lessen the appeal of crime

  • Provided jobs while preserving endangered species

  • Lowered the violent crime rate

Agroforestry successes1

Agroforestry successes

Mata Atlantica

  • Intercropping with native species increased the yield and resistance of banana plantations to wind

  • Planting of coffee trees in the region provided farmers with a new source of income and enhanced biodiversity

  • Collaborative harvesting of Brazil nuts in the region provided jobs and food to the local population

Agroforestry successes2

Agroforestry successes


  • Agroforestry provided ways to combat an arid and increasingly desert climate

  • Provided and alternate source of fuel wood and income for farmers

  • All in a region that consumes over 50% of Brazil's domestic food aid

Agroforestry successes3

Agroforestry successes


  • A complex strategy was implemented to increase soil fertility, fuel wood, and food production

  • Farmers indicated that crops were more resistant to drought

  • Farmers no longer needed to buy feed for livestock during drought periods

  • Had less problems with soil retention during droughts

Agroforestry successes4

Agroforestry Successes


  • Agroforestry can increase economic gains of small farmers

  • Increase drought resistance through intercropping

  • Increase or preserve biodiviersity

  • Increase water retention in soil

  • Increase long term soil viability

Literature cited

Literature Cited

FAO. 2011. The State of Forests in the Amazon Basin, Congo Basin and Southeast Asia.

Kauffman, J.B., D.L. Cummings,D.E. Ward, and R. Babbitt• Fire in the Brazilian Amazon: Biomass, nutrient pools, and losses in slashed primary forests, Oecologia,104, 397-408, 1995.

Laurance, W.F., Lovejoy, T.E., Vasconcelos, H., Bruna, E., Didham, R., Stouffer, P.,Gascon, C., Bierregaard, R., Laurance, S.G., Sampaio, E., 2002. Ecosystem decay of Amazonian forest fragments: a 22-year investigation. Conserv. Biol. 16, 605–618.

Uhl C and Kauffman JB. 1990. Deforestation, fire susceptibility, and potential tree responses to fire in the eastern Amazon. Ecology 71(2): 437-449.

Schroth G., D’Angelo S. A., Teixeira W. G., et. al. Conversion of secondary forest into agroforestry and monoculture plantations in Amazonia: consequences for biomass, litter and soil carbon stocks after 7 years. Forest Ecology and Management [serial online]. 2002; 163(1-3: 131-150. Available: Accessed 2014 May 27.

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