Date: 03 Oct 2012

Agroforestry in Tomé-Açu: An Alternative to Pasture in the Amazon

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This chapter focuses on historical perspectives of land use in Tomé-Açu using remote sensing as a tool to assess land use/land cover and ecosystem goods and services such as carbon sequestration. The results show that agroforestry systems in Tomé-Açu play an important role at the property and landscape scales, trends that should be monitored as they appear to offer an alternative to conversion of forest to pasture. The Amazon-wide dominant trajectory toward conversion to pasture, based on reduced labor needs, if compared to intensive agroforestry systems, requires much more land to yield the same returns to a household at current management levels. If one considers the potential of agroforestry as a source of carbon sequestration, the returns are even higher and may contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse effects.

We thank the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for funding the research project entitled “Human and Physical Dimensions of Land Use/Cover Change in Amazonia: Towards Sustainability” (NASA LBA-ECO project no. NNG06GD86A). This project is part of the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazônia Programme, which examined the human and physical dimensions of land-cover change. We also thank Bibiana Teixeira de Almeida and Vera Viana for reviewing the manuscript.