In the last decades, a striking agribusiness expansion and intensification in Brazilian Amazon agricultural frontier is promoting a fast shift in land use and cover, associated with high deforestation rates and environmental impacts. The Alto Xingu River Basin is located in Mato Grosso, the Brazilian state with one of the highest rates of agricultural and livestock production, as well as deforestation. The Alto Xingu currently presents several disputes amongst conservationist and agrarian sectors, representing one of the most threatened Amazon watershed by land use change. Although legally protected as "Permanent Preservation Areas" (APPs - acronym in Portuguese), riparian zones are under constantly anthropic pressure in this region, and governmental efforts to protect these areas have been under scrutiny. The impacts promoted by riparian vegetation removal affects both ecological functions and water security. Considering the increasing agrarian pressure over this region and the lack of recent and specific data, this work aims to evaluate environmental liabilities in APPs located in private rural properties in the Alto Xingu watershed, focusing on the role of patterns of land use and occupation. A landscape analysis will be performed using geoprocessing techniques to evaluate deforestation, land use change, landscape spatial patterns and structure. The influence of cattle ranching and soybean cultivation, the main regional economic activities, as well as land tenure, will be analyzed and compared. The impact of environmental legislation together with regional public policies will be also under investigation.
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