Loss and fragmentation of natural habitats for the expansion of agricultural areas have major importance to the biodiversity crisis. Slowing or even ceasing the expansion of agriculture is a fundamental step to decrease its damaging effects. Optimizing space for the conservation of biodiversity guaranteeing food sovereignty as well as the production of agricultural products are urgent as most of agricultural methods have focused on increasing production only, usually to the detriment of socio-environment matters. In this project we aim to generate knowledge that could guide to a scenario where both agricultural and biodiversity benefits. To do this, we will base our research on a landscape ecology-approach and we intend to answer two main questions which will compose two articles: (1) where are the yield gaps in a biodiversity hot-spot? In order to spare land to biodiversity, initiatives to identify under-yielding agricultural landscapes where crop production could be increased to give space for biodiversity can be effective in species conservation and ecosystem process. (2) How can natural regeneration driven by the movement of frugivorous fauna affect the occurrence of vertebrate species? As tropical forests are naturally regenerating worldwide, understanding how this process influence the distribution of forest species is essential to select priority areas for conservation. To develop this project, we will use large datasets of species occurrence to develop potential distribution maps of species in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, a highly fragmented tropical biodiversity hotspot.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: