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The effects of Amazon deforestation on non-timber forest products


The relationships between deforestation and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) supply chains are investigated in 532 municipalities throughout the Brazilian Amazon. The NTFP production of acai berry (Euterpe spp.), andiroba (Carapa spp.), Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa Bonpl.), and tonka bean (Dipteryx spp.) has reduced with increasing deforestation rates (p < 0.02). Correlations between the presence of NTFP extractivism and agroforestry systems and increased deforestation ranged between − 22 and − 38%. Forests suffering extractivism activities have decreased mainly in municipalities located in the southern and eastern Brazilian Amazon areas. These decreases are discussed as being associated to forest biomass, fragmentation, edge effect, wildfire, and climate change attributed to deforestation. However, increasing deforestation rates did not influence either cupuassu (Theobroma grandiflorum (Willd. ex Spreng.) K. Schum.) production (p = 0.26) or the presence of raw material processing businesses until 2017 (p = 0.09). The lack of observed associations between deforestation and cupuassu production is linked to NTFP management in agroforestry systems. NTFP flows from less deforested regions to municipalities that house factories for the production of oils, fats, pulp and dehydrated seeds. The productive andiroba and tonka bean chains are highly threatened by deforestation. Without the presence of forest restoration efforts employing agroforestry systems, the social and economic activities of both people and businesses are at risk, and NTFP production and diversity are increasingly reduced by Amazon deforestation.

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D.O.B. thanks the post graduate program in Earth Sciences (Pós-Graduação em Ciências do Sistema Terrestre—PGCST) and the National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais—INPE) for their support throughout the course of this study; the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico—CNPq) for a doctoral grant (Project: 870001/2011-6, Process: 141882/2018-2, valid between 05/01/2018 and 12/04/2018); and both the Fundo Brasileiro para a Biodiversidade and HUMANIZE for Funbio grant (Conservando o Futuro nº 035/2019). L.E.S.B., I.N., and C.A.N. thank both the São Paulo Research Foundation (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo—FAPESP) and CNPq for having funded research at the National Institute of Climate Change Science and Technology (Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia para Mudanças Climáticas) on plant species and bioindustry in the Amazon.

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Correspondence to Diego Oliveira Brandão.

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Communicated by Victor Resco de Dios.

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Brandão, D.O., Barata, L.E.S., Nobre, I. et al. The effects of Amazon deforestation on non-timber forest products. Reg Environ Change 21, 122 (2021).

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  • Amazon land use
  • Climate change
  • Environmental change
  • Non-timber forest products
  • Supply chain
  • Tropical forest