Analysis of land-use change in the Extractive Reserves of Southwestern Amazonia, Brazil:

Are small-holder rubber tappers significantly contributing to deforestation?

Investigator:

Christiane Ehringhaus:   Forestry & Environmental Studies

Advisors:

Dr. Mark Ashton:   Forestry & Environmental Studies
Dr. Douglas Daly:  New York Botanical Garden
Dr. Marianne Schmink:  University of Florida

Description:

The proposed doctoral research examines the role of extractive reserves as a conservation and development strategy in the Brazilian Amazon region. In the context of massive tropical rainforest destruction the harvest and marketing of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) has been championed as an alternative means of generating income while maintaining forest cover intact. To evaluate this approach, this research will examine how different conservation and development policies affect land-use choices within an ecological, social and political context in the Southwestern Amazonian State of Acre, Brazil. Using an interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approach, combining political ecology, ethnobotany and land-use analysis, the research will investigate different land use scenarios in which NTFPs play an important role in order to determine the social, economic, political and ecological drivers and constraints that influence and shape land-use decisions and the capacity of local people to market NTFPs.

This study uses Landsat TM images to determine land conversion rates in different extractive reserves and to compare the rates and patterns of deforestation with those outside the reserves. The distinction of agricultural from pasture areas will be attempted. Particular attention will be given to the differentiation of the various stages of secondary succession following agricultural activities from different forest types.

Acre, Brazil, 1986 Acre, Brazil, 1996


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26 September 2002