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Assessing the Effect of Madera's Energy and Transportation Infrastructure Projects on Soybean Expansion

Maria del Carmen Vera-Diaz, Boston University, mcarmen@bu.edu (Presenting)
John Reid, Conservation Strategy Fund, john@conservation-strategy.org
Britaldo Soares-Filho, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, britaldo@csr.ufmg.br
Robert Kaufmann, Boston University, Kaufmann@bu.edu
Dan Nepstad, Woods Hole Research Center / IPAM, dnepstad@whrc.org

Precarious transportation network and natural barriers have kept the region of High Madera River at the Bolivia, Brazil and Peru tri-border geographically and economically isolated. Its development potential lies in the possibilities of accessing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Madeira River and/or through the construction and pavement of roads. Madera’s River Hydroelectric and Navigation Mega-project includes the construction of two hydroelectric power stations (HPS) - Jirau and Santo Antonio - (Brazil), a third HPS between Abuná (Brazil) and Guayaramerín (Bolivia). These investments would allow the navigation through more than 4,000 km of waterways. Another transportation project is the pavement of Yucumo- Guayaramerín Bolivian road. One of the main benefits expected from these mega-projects is the expansion of soybean crops in the area influenced directly by the future navigable waterways and by the roads to be paved. We predict land use changes that would occur in Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru as a result of Madera’s projects. We use an interdisciplinary model to estimate soybean yields based on climatic, edaphic, and economic determinants. It allows us to assess spatial variations in the economic viability of soybean production and the degree to which expanded plantings can be influenced by the infrastructure bi-national investments.

Science Theme:  LC (Land Use and Land Cover Change)

Session:  2B: The Changing Amazon Landscape

Presentation Type:  Oral

Abstract ID: 139

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