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Definition of indicators and numerical assessment of land dereliction due to mineral exploitation at the North Shore of State of São Paulo, Brazil

Grant number: 07/03009-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - New Frontiers
Effective date (Start): January 16, 2008
Effective date (End): January 15, 2009
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Geosciences - Geology
Principal Investigator:Cláudio José Ferreira
Grantee:Cláudio José Ferreira
Host Investigator: John Canning Cripps
Host Institution: Instituto Geológico. Secretaria do Meio Ambiente (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Sheffield, England  


The North Coast of State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, stretches from NE to SW between the Serra do Mar Ridge and the Atlantic Ocean comprising an area of 1977 km2. Besides its expressive regional development which implies pressure over the natural resources and areas for the set in of economic activities, this region plays a relevant ecological role as well. It has almost 80% of the area occupied by the Atlantic Forest biome, considered a global hotspot for biodiversity conservation. The sustainable development policies has to tackle with high susceptibility ground and ecological conditions and a crescent demand for housing, industrialization, tourism development, water supply and sanitation. The production of minerals for use in construction (sand, stone and clay material) can be considered strategic to the regional development, specially in the sea border, where the occurrence of mangrove and waterlogged fields require terrain filling before the construction of houses, roads, streets or buildings. Between the 60's and early 90's intensive and non-regulated exploitation of clay material (residual soil) for civil construction took place in the North Coast of the State of Sao Paulo. Exploitation of large volumes of this material required only very simple technology, which on the other hand has caused highly adverse environmental impacts, such as deforestation, soil erosion, land instability hazards, scenic deterioration, pollution and disturbance of local water flow regime. However, only by the late 90´s, State and local authorities properly managed to stop non-licensed exploitation of residual soil. Even though no land reclamation was undertaken until present so that there are nearly 300 of unsightly sites at the region. The aim of this project is to find out indicators of land dereliction due mineral exploitation, for example, intensity of erosion processes and terrain irregularities, area of exposed soil and vegetal cover and land use, and then to quantify the dereliction for almost 300 mined sites scattered over the North Shore of State of Sao Paulo and assess the evolution of those indicators and dereliction index from the 1960's until 2000. The methods envisaged consist of data analysis of inventory and fieldwork of mined sites, processing and interpretation of high-resolution images and aerial photographs of different periods (since 1966 until 2001) and GIS-based spatial data analysis. (AU)

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