Understanding Land Cover Change in a Tropical Region due to Rapid Agricultural Increase: Interactions with Environmental and Socioeconomic Factors#

Team “Beipiaosaurus moonwalk”

Sofia Corradi Oliveira, Andrés Fernando Figueroa Curo, Magnolia Song, Manojna Polisetty, Daniela Velásquez, Maryann Alessandra Alata Chambilla

Mentor: Oz Kira

Mato Grosso, a vital part of the Amazonian Rainforest, has experienced a considerable human impact, primarily driven by agricultural and livestock expansion. The region, which once covered almost 50% with forests, has now dwindled to approximately 35%, largely due to deforestation linked to economic growth. Our study, utilizing MODIS satellite and economic data, revealed concerning trends, including an 8% reduction in forested areas and a simultaneous 6% increase in soy-planted areas and grasslands between 2001 and 2021. Correlation analyses exposed negative associations between forested areas and both environmental (Net Primary Productivity - NPP, Land Surface Temperature - LST, albedo) and socioeconomic (Gross Domestic Product - GDP, population) variables, emphasizing a direct link between economic development and deforestation. Notably, the strong correlation between 'soy-planted area' and GDP/population highlights the significant role of agricultural expansion, often tied to deforestation, in regional economic growth. Additionally, the connection between the rise in LST and significant correlations between NPP and economic variables underscores the intricate relationship between land-use changes, environmental factors, and socio-economic development in Mato Grosso. This study can be useful for decision-makers, fostering awareness and guiding the creation of a mindful approach to reduce expansive agriculture, ultimately contributing to conservation efforts in the Amazonia region.

The full micropublication will be shared here at the end of March 2024.