What Can We Do to Promote Sustainable Development in the Brazilian amazon?
José Guilherme Roquette1,2,Francisco de Almeida Lobo2,Maria O’Healy Hunter2
1Ministério Público de Mato Grosso, Brazil
2Laboratório de Ecofisiologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Brazil
Submission:October 11, 2019Published: October 14, 2019
*Corresponding author:José Guilherme Roquette, Centro de Apoio Operacional, Sede das Promotorias de Justiça da Capital, Av. Des. Milton Figueiredo Ferreira Mendes, s/n, Centro Político e Administrativo, CEP 78049-928, Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil
How to cite this article:José Guilherme Roquette, Francisco de Almeida Lobo, Maria O’Healy Hunter. What Can We Do to Promote Sustainable Development in the Brazilian amazon?.Agri Res& Tech: Open Access J. 2019; 22(4): 556219. DOI: 10.19190/ARTOAJ.2019.22.556219
Considered the most expansive biome in the world, Amazonia has the largest ecosystem biodiversity and could be developed sustainably through limited use of its products and their derivatives. However, the occupation and current type of development has resulted in alarming rates of deforestation, almost always associated with fire. In Brazil, the advancement of the agricultural frontier has been highlighted as the principal cause of degradation of the Amazon Forest, which makes ever more important the development of production systems with reduced environmental impact. Sustainable management and the cultivation of native species with untapped potential, via products such as foods, medicines, resins, or wood, or services such as ecoturism, are all possibilities. But for this to happen, it is necessary to raise awareness within the population about environmental effects, to advance the study of products and product systems based on local species, and the development of public policies that conciliate regional development and environmental quality.
Amazonia is a rich natural environment, from flora and fauna, through mineral deposits, to its immense rivers and lakes, that also provides the home for many peoples. Currently, the adoption of sustainable practices is small, in part due to a lack of appropriate technology that would allow for the full study of substances at the molecular level, allowing for the discovery of uses for macro and microorganisms and mineral resources present. The current land use is restricted to traditional agriculture. The pressue to expand these economic activities drives the current alarming rate of deforestation. These actions are perpetrated in the absence of instruments at the command and control of the government, and cause unmeasurable costs to the environment, that are left without reparation of this damage. Recently, the international community has expressed concern in regard to Amazonian degradation, particularly this year’s devastating fires.
With occupation increasing since the 1960’s, native vegetation has been substituted for alternative uses that necessitate land clearing, usually pasture or small-scale agriculture. Beyond the impacts caused by agriculture and ranching , there are other growing threats in the form of logging, large scale transportation
and energy infrastructure , and the small but significant
exploration of mineral reserves . The conversion of the original landscape in ways that modify the land surface, have immediate effects on the flows of energy and materials between the biosphere and atmosphere , due to changes in the surface albedo, roughness and water balance. From these initial changes, other alterations occur that may compromise nurient cycling, carbon cycling, the chemical composition of the water and air, the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the soil, and make the forest uninhabitable by its original inhabitants. And this impact is directly proportional to the scale of landscape conversion. Though They are underrated by most of civil society, and even some political leaders and scientists, these impacts not only affect the global climate, but may also cause disastrous local effects. Maintaining current trends in deforestation, it is possible that a large-scale reduction in the formation of clouds responsible for rain in the Central-southeast of the country due to a reduction in the formation of sources of organic condensation from trees that are felled . But it is not possible to predict the limit of land conversion for which these phenomena will become significant.
The Amazon Forest is a system that has feedbacks with the climate, whose change represents a serious threat to its existence and to the environmental services it provides . Within this context, increasing temperatures and decreasing humidity of the local and regional climate may be driven by the changes in
land use that remove forest cover. When forest cover is removed,
surface runoff of rainwater increases and infiltration decreases,
causing erosion, loss of minerals and silting rivers, resulting in
the pollution of downstream basins and reducing hydrological
security. Paradoxically, the same regions of Amazonia that have
been deforested, are used to produce a large portion of grains
and meat, that are highly dependent on the availability of water.
Therefore, the understanding that forest fragmentation will
alter the hydrological cycle, and may compromise productivity,
is necessary. Were this to occur, it would further increase the
cost of food, and harm local traditions of logging , fishing as
well as indigenous groups. In this way, the perceptions and
environmental awareness of the population as a whiole and of
rural producers in particular must be improved so that they are
conscious of problems that can be caused by the transformation of
Amazon Forest vegetation. This will reconcile development with
environmental quality, and consequently, the well-being of the
society as a whole.
In all of the Brazilian Amazon, rural properties must
preserve riparian areas, natural springs, the areas surrounding
the reservoir of dammed waterways, and steep slopes. Beyond
this was created the requirement of legal reserves of native
vegetation, with required percentages variable by region, 80%
for forests, 35% for cerrado and 20% for plains. These areas can
be developed only with the express approval of environmental
secretaries tasked with sustainable management. Despite these
legal restrictions, some rural properties have converted protected
areas into pasture or planted crops in an illegal manner. In these
cases environmental repairs must be made to restore or rebuild
Environmental impacts caused by deforestation represent
a lost opportunity to sustanably use the forest by exploring and
researching both wood and non-wood products [3-5]. With the
survey of tropical forests, a beneficial market could be formed in
the case of detailed study , exploration and careful management
of resources, resulting in an increase in nutrient rich foods,
medicines, resins, starches, wood and other, yet to be discovered,
products. Another factor that should be considered is that the
replacement of forests by small statured plantations modifies
the hydrological and climate systems, causing changes in the
precipitation and increasing air temperature, which are important
variables for the maintenance of existing farming and ranching
activities. Since the 1990s, the problems caused by intensive and
extensive agriculture resulted in efforts to produce foods using
techniques with a lower environmental impact. The recuperation
of environmental liabilities from degraded areas is an opportunity
to develop models of integrated systems with diverse native
species, in order to better understand the potential production and
marketability of Amazonian products. To do this, it is necessary
that alternative production models with diverse native species are
studied, as well as the development of mechanization or partial
mechanization techniques that would allow these systems to be
implemented in medium or large properties. Therefore, studies
that evaluate the production of native species and opportunities
to add value to their products and derivatives, their production
cycles, potential methods of cultivation, opportunities for
mechanization, and genetic improvement to increase production
and productivity are indispensable. The biodiversity and scenic
beauty of Amazonia are also important attractions for ecotourism,
whose economic potential could result in significant economic
returns for the region.
The discovery of products and derivatives specific to Amazonia
bring economic and ecological benefits, and can also result
in societal benefits including jobs, salaries, reduction of rural
exodus and improved land tenure by way of modern mechanized
harvesting. However, this is hindered by a lack of necessary
resources, such as rural labor, low technology, limited scientific
knowledge, few economic incentives, reduced awareness of
societal benefits, and the absence of public policies. This necessity
comes at a time when remote sensing of vegetation is used by
governmental institutions and researchers to detect and map
deforestation in almost real-time, increasing the efficiency of
combating illegal actions and monitoring recovering areas. But
the effectiveness of recovering these areas, as well as a reduction
of the pressure to clear primary forest, will be best encouraged by
economically viable production systems, producing returns better
than those of modern agriculture, together with public policies
that develop technology and help train workers.
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