Land use dynamics in Brazilian La Plata Basin and anthropogenic climate change

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<ul><li><p>Land use dynamics in Brazilian La Plata Basinand anthropogenic climate change</p><p>Ana Carolina F. de Vasconcelos &amp; Sandro L. Schlindwein &amp;Marcos A. Lana &amp; Alfredo C. Fantini &amp; Michelle Bonatti &amp;Luiz R. DAgostini &amp; Sergio R. Martins</p><p>Received: 20 May 2011 /Accepted: 7 February 2014# Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014</p><p>Abstract The La Plata Basin (LPB) is one of the most important regions for agriculture andlivestock production in South America, playing a central role in the world food production andfood security. Within its borders is also located the whole Brazilian Pantanal region. Identifyingthe most important land use sectors in LPB as well as the changes observed in the past years isfundamental to recognize which areas of the basin might be more vulnerable to climate changein order to design adaptation strategies. A general characterization of land use and livestockproduction of Brazilian LPB was done by using the System of Automatic Retrieving (SIDRA)of Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) platform as themajor source of data. Itwas observed expressive increases in land areas used for temporary crops, such as soybean,sugarcane, and maize, as well as increases in poultry and swine production. These importantchanges in agricultural land use and livestock production are currently associated to non-climatic drivers, but this dynamic might be strongly affected by the consequences of climatechange and variability, with negative socio-economic impacts for the whole region.</p><p>Climatic ChangeDOI 10.1007/s10584-014-1081-8</p><p>This article is part of a Special Issue on Climate change and adaptation in tropical basins edited by PierreGirard, Craig Hutton, and Jean-Phillipe Boulanger.</p><p>Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10584-014-1081-8)contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.</p><p>S. L. Schlindwein : A. C. Fantini :M. Bonatti : L. R. DAgostini : S. R. MartinsFederal University of Santa Catarina - Research Group on Environmental Monitoring and AppraisalNUMAVAM, P.O. box 476, Florianpolis, Brazil 88034-900</p><p>M. A. LanaLeibniz-Zentrum fr Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF e. V), Eberswalder Str. 84, Mncheberg, Germany15374</p><p>Present Address:A. C. F. de Vasconcelos (*)Center for Technology and Natural Resources, Federal University of Campina Grande, Av. Aprgio Veloso,882, 58429-140 Campina Grande, PB, Brazile-mail: anacarol@vt.edu</p><p>A. C. F. de Vasconcelose-mail: ana3carol@yahoo.com.br</p></li><li><p>1 Introduction</p><p>The La Plata Basin (LPB) extends over 3,100,000 km2 and is the fifth largest river basin in theworld and the second in South America. It covers an extensive part of central and northernArgentina, southeast Bolivia, almost all the southern part of Brazil, the entire Paraguay and alarge portion of Uruguay. Within the territories of Brazil and Argentina is located approxi-mately 70 % of the total area of the basin, and the Brazilian territory comprises 45 % of thetotal basin area (Dias Coelho et al. 2004). The Brazilian Pantanal wetland area is fully locatedwithin LPB. The LPB represents an important economic region in southern South Americasince agricultural land use and industry in the basin are responsible for 70 % of the GrossNational Products of the LPB countries (Coutinho et al. 2009). According to these authors, theregion has experiencing a process of continuous change, as a response to drivers such as theinternational market, infra-structure and technology developments, societal evolution, andnational policies.</p><p>Agricultural land use in LPB is highly dynamic and of particular importance for the worldeconomy and food security since the region is recognized as a major producer of agriculturalcommodities (OAS 2005). Since the 1960 decade, LPB was subjected to significant processesof land use change, as a result of several land use policies that have been implemented. But thedifferent sectors of LPB have experienced these changes in different ways and intensities. Forexample, in the Brazilian sector of the Uruguay River Basin, subsistence crops and pasturescan be found side-by-side with soybean, maize, and wheat crops. In the Paraguay Basin, landuse changed rapidly due to the clearance of natural vegetation for extending agriculturalproduction areas, further expanding soybean cultivation and livestock exploitation. Finally,in the Paran Basin, the land use involves agricultural and livestock production, as well ascultivated and native forests. The main agricultural and livestock activities are cattle raisingand soybean, sugarcane and coffee crops. It is important to point out that about 10 % of theBrazilian cattle are raised in the La Plata Basin (World Water Assessment Programme 2007).</p><p>Agriculture is one of the main human activities causing anthropogenic global warming.Land use practices have played an important role in changing the global carbon cycle and,possibly, the global climate. Since 1850, roughly 35 % of anthropogenic CO2 emissionsresulted directly from land use. Land cover changes also affect regional climates throughchanges in surface energy and water balance (Foley et al. 2005). But modifying agriculturalland use and/or modifying the management practices within the same land use are alsoalternatives for mitigating climate change (Cerri et al. 2004). Therefore, the dynamics of landuse change might be an important aspect to be considered to design adaptation strategies toclimate change and to formulate land use policies.</p><p>It has been recognized that the adverse effects of climate change on agriculturalproduction are likely to be felt more intensively in the lower latitude countries, althoughit is projected a lesser temperature change in these countries than in those in higherlatitudes, because in lower latitude regions the crops are often grown close to their limitsof heat tolerance and moisture availability (Burton and Lim 2005). As the global averagetemperature is likely to result at least 2 C warmer than today by the end of the 21st</p><p>century (IPCC 2007), agricultural land use systems need to be adapted to this temperatureincrease. Therefore, the identification of the most important land use sectors in a regionand the land use changes observed in the last years are fundamental to recognize whichagricultural areas might be more vulnerable to climate change. The vulnerability of theseland use systems is the main factor to be considered in the development of adaptationstrategies, which have to be as far as possible, anticipatory and preventative, andcombined with mitigation measures (Giddens 2009).</p><p>Climatic Change</p></li><li><p>Considering these aspects related to climate change and agricultural land use, a study wascarried out in order to approach the dynamics of changes in agricultural land use in theBrazilian territory of LPB for a specific time period considering different land use sectors, suchas the areas occupied by temporary and permanent crops, forests and pastures, as well as themagnitude of livestock exploitation. This survey is important for the assessment of the impactof non-climatic drivers on the current dynamics of land use change, and how this dynamicsmight be affected by future climate change and variability, with possible impacts on thegeography of agricultural production. Thus, this study might be considered as one of the firststeps in the process of designing learning systems to face the negative consequences of climatechange and variability in the study region.</p><p>2 Methodology</p><p>The area studied is the Brazilian portion of the LPB, which occupies forty-five percent of thetotal area of the basin (Fig. 1), equivalent to 1,429 million km2, and represents 16.6 % of thetotal area of the country (Dias Coelho et al 2004). The Brazilian part of the La Plata Basin isspread over the States of Gois (GO), Mato Grosso (MT), Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), MinasGerais (MG), So Paulo (SP), Paran (PR), Santa Catarina (SC), and Rio Grande do Sul (RS).</p><p>These states are distributed in three Brazilian geographical regions: central western,southeast and south, as presented in Table 1.</p><p>To identify the municipalities located within the boundaries of the Brazilian area of LPB foreach state, the area covered by the main rivers (Paran, Uruguai, Paraguai, Iguau, and TietRivers) that form the basin was delimited. The areas of the municipalities partially located</p><p>MT</p><p>MS</p><p>GO</p><p>MG</p><p>SP</p><p>PR</p><p>SC</p><p>RS</p><p>Fig. 1 La Plata Basin area (in gray) situated within the Brazilian territory. Source: CLARIS LPB dataset (http://www.claris-eu.org. Accessed October 18, 2011)</p><p>Climatic Change</p></li><li><p>within the basin were estimated by using cartographic maps with a scale of 1: 2.000.000(Repblica Federativa do Brasil s.d.a, b, c).</p><p>The major source of data used to characterize the dynamics of agricultural land use changein the Brazilian area of LPB was the System of Automatic Data Retrieving (SIDRA) of theBrazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) platform (available at www.sidra.ibge.gov.br. Last access: October 3, 2011). Data were surveyed at the municipality level fromagricultural census carried out by IBGE in 1996 and 2008 regarding the total areas (inhectares) used for temporary and permanent crops, forests (natural and planted) andpastures.1 The total crop areas were obtained by summing up all the areas of the cropscultivated in the municipalities located within the basin. During the survey it could beobserved for a few municipalities that their total areas were smaller than the sum of theagricultural area. This fact occurred in regions where crop rotation is widely used, as forexample the crop sequence of wheat (winter crop) followed by soybeans and/or maize (spring/summer crops). Thus we speculate that the areas cultivated with these crops were marked morethan once at the time of the IBGE censuses, originating some discrepancies between the totalagricultural area and the total municipality area. However, we assume that such discrepanciesdo not affect the general trend observed in land use change. The data for areas used for cropswith major economical significance for the region, such as coffee, maize, soybean, sugarcaneand wheat, were considered and highlighted in this study. Because of the relevance and impacton land use in the region, data of cattle, swine and poultry production were also considered.</p><p>According to IBGE (2006), each type of land use included in this study was described asfollows: temporary crops are plants presenting short or medium duration, generally withvegetative cycle shorter than 1 year and after harvesting the land is available again for anew cultivation. Cereals, tubers, and greenery are the main temporary crops, but flowers,medicinal, aromatic, and flavor crops were also grown in the study area. Semi permanentcrops, such as sugarcane, cassava, and some forages are included in this category. Permanentcrops are plants presenting long cycles that last many seasons, rather than being replanted aftereach harvest. In this category, fruit trees, coffee, cocoa, and rubber trees were included. Thesecrops can be grown in agroforestry or in monoculture systems. Pastures are land areas covered</p><p>Table 1 Distribution of the states in Brazilian area of LPB</p><p>State Region Total area Area in LPB Number of municipalities</p><p>1,000 ha % 1,000 ha Total In LPB</p><p>GO Central west 34,011,70 47 16,081,47 246 115</p><p>MT Central west 90,338,60 21 19,062,27 141 30</p><p>MS Central west 35,713,99 100 35,713,99 77 77</p><p>MG Southeast 58,655,24 21 12,409,85 853 178</p><p>SP Southeast 24,817,70 93 23,310,59 645 599</p><p>PR South 19,928,10 87 17,395,22 399 347</p><p>SC South 9,528,50 41 3,968,87 293 120</p><p>RS South 28,173,40 37 10,532,81 496 183</p><p>System of Automatic Data Retrieving of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics platform (available atwww.sidra.ibge.gov.br. Accessed April 16, 2010)</p><p>1 The years 1996 and 2008 were selected given the availability of data at IBGE platform at the time of the surveyfor the assessed land use sectors.</p><p>Climatic Change</p></li><li><p>by grasses or leguminous plants used for grazing by livestock. Forestry areas are managed withnative or exotic tree species aiming to provide raw material for industrial uses, like wood,cellulose, and paper. Pinus and Eucalyptus are the main species used for planting, althoughpart of the land should be maintained with natural forests as legal preservation areas.</p><p>3 Results and discussion</p><p>The magnitude of the variation of area occupied with major crops and livestock production inthe study region between 1996 and 2008 is presented in Tables 2 and 3, respectively. For theconsidered crops, the main variation can be observed for sugarcane and soybean, followed in amuch lower degree by maize and wheat.</p><p>It can also be observed a large increase in swine and poultry production in the region. Thisincrease in swine and poultry production has been supported by the increasing availability ofsoybeans and maize (Table 2) that, in turn have been triggered by the increasing world fooddemand (Table 5). As can be seen very clearly from Table 4, the huge increase (almost 10million ha) in the area cultivated with temporary crops (like soybeans) occurred at the expenseof pastures, which in the considered time period have experienced a reduction of almost 11million ha. So, at least in the Brazilian LPB, the increase of agricultural land use has not beenat the expense of forests or due a significant deforestation.</p><p>In Table 5 it is possible to see how the variation and change in land use and livestockproduction in the Brazilian LPB has been driven and is coupled to the world food demandincrease between 1996 and 2008, particularly for soybeans, swine and poultry products. As aresponse to this increase in the world food demand, the Brazilian export of these commoditiesrose sharply during this period, a significant part of them having been harvested and producedwithin the Brazilian LPB.</p><p>4 Feedbacks between the dynamics of land use change and climate change</p><p>Human activity systems dramatically influence and change global land cover.Considering that agriculture is one of the most widespread land use activities,currently covering about 40 % of the global land surface (McIntyre et al. 2009),modifications of land cover are one of the most important anthropogenic influences onthe global climate system (Ramankutty et al. 2006). Therefore, taking into account theextension of LPB and the potential long-term impacts of land cover conversion onclimate, the study of the dynamics of land use change in this region might be animportant aspect to be considered for the projection of future regional climate.</p><p>Table 2 Variation of the area oc-cupied by major crops in BrazilianLPB between 1996 and 2008</p><p>IBGE (www.sidra.ibge.gov.br.Last access: October 3, 2011)</p><p>Crops in LPB 1996 2008 Variation</p><p>1,000 ha 1,000 ha %</p><p>Coffee 617,00 617,00 0.00</p><p>Soybean 6,671,00 10,879,00 63.08</p><p>Maize 6,106,00 7,089,00 16.10</p><p>Sugarcane 2,963,00 5,718,00 92.98</p><p>Wheat 1,466,00 1,694,00 15.55</p><p>Climatic Change</p></li><li><p>Therefore, the significant increase and intensification o...</p></li></ul>

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