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Scale-Dependence in Understanding Deforestation in Amazonia

Emilio F Moran, Indiana University, moran@indiana.edu (Presenting)

This paper comes from long-term field research in Amazonia, complemented with LBA-funded research over the past decade. The paper argues that researchers need to keep in mind that conclusions from studies are scale-dependent. Namely, that analyses at Brazilian Amazon scale provide one view of the dynamics of deforestation and its spatial and temporal trajectories—but that these spatial and temporal trajectories vary a great deal from sub-region to sub-region. These differences are derived from the different histories, initial conditions both cultural and biophysical, and the way that different sub-regions are treated by government policy—whether by receiving priority in road-building, credit policy, or other forms of infrastructure. The paper examines Amazon-scale dynamics using PRODES data, and compares these results to targeted studies in the regions of Altamira, Santarem and Marajo, and with state-analyses. A major insight from the paper is that sustainable solutions taking place in some regions are hidden from Basin-scaled studies, and thus that we need to ensure that in our rush to have regional relevant conclusions, we do not lose sight that it is local decision-makers through their management that come up with solutions to environmental challenges.

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

Session:  Plenary 2

Presentation Type:  Oral

Abstract ID: 96

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