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Comparative analysis for changes in the provision of ecosystem services and well-being in Brazilian hotspots (Atlantic Forest and Cerrado) in the São Paulo State


Brazil has a rich variety of ecosystems and harbor ~30% of the world's tropical forest . As such, a wide variety of land use policies have been in place to deal with the impact of land use change in ecosystem services and social wellbeing mainly from agro-industrial development. Although Brazil has experiencing an impressive economic growth, in some regions (like hotspots) livelihood options have not change significantly. There is lack of substantial evaluation to what extent does these policies itself combined with the several market incentives for agricultural (commodities) have impacted ecosystem services and improved wellbeing. In hotspots, population is still highly dependant on ecosystems for livelihood and small scale agricultural but are faced with strong land use dynamics are at play: the development of unifunctional landscapes for commodity production and establishment of protected areas that have been increasing. Unifunctional landscapes are catalysed by the international market interest on agricultural commodities, and are central to the country's economy. Yet, they may also undermine the provision of a wide range of ecosystem services (ES) mainly to the local communities and small farmers undermining an opportunity to value natural capital, with erosion and export of ES. On the other hand, in protected areas livelihood options are limited with strong dependence on State programme and incentives. The challenge is still to create development that boosts economic growth without further marginalising the local communities who depend on ES for livelihood. This work sets out to understand how this might be possible in a changing climate. We will look for evidence of non-linearities in the relationship between ES and rural wellbeing in Atlantic Forest and Cerrado at the Sao Paulo State. We will understand the impact and to what extent increased expansion of agro-business and establishment of protected areas have contributed to rural wellbeing and ES protection. We will adapt the methodology of (Fisher, 2013) and (Rodrigues et al., 2009) to explore patterns of changes in wellbeing along the three major land use change gradients in three watersheds: forest degradation , forest regeneration and protection and landscape multi-functionality. We will investigate whether: There exists non-linear relationships and potential for changes in ES provision and wellbeing of the local communities, as: (a) natural capital is reduced by forest degradation; (b) natural capital increases in protected areas and (c) as landscape multi-functionality decreases by the establishment of commercial agriculture. H0: Wellbeing and degradation, wellbeing and protected areas as well multifunctionality landscapes are not related. The evidence generated will provide a platform to the understanding of these dynamics for commercial agriculture, protected areas impacting ES and rural development accounting climatic variability that can be applied to other regions in Brazil, like Amazon frontiers and countries like Moçambique undergoing similar trajectories. It will contribute to robust social and ecological policy by engaging with co-production of knowledge among different stackeholders for regional sustainability in the context of climate change. (AU)

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