Extravagance in the commons:resource exploitation and the frontiers of ecosystem service depletion in the Amazon estuary

De Araujo Barbosa, C.C. and Atkinson, Peter Michael and Dearing, John A. (2016) Extravagance in the commons:resource exploitation and the frontiers of ecosystem service depletion in the Amazon estuary. Science of the Total Environment, 550. pp. 6-16. ISSN 0048-9697

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Estuaries hold major economic potential due their strategic location, close to seas and inland waterways, thereby supporting intense economic activity. The increasing pace of human development in coastal deltas over the past five decades has also strained local resources and produced extensive changes across both social and ecological systems. The Amazon estuary is located in the Amazon Basin, North Brazil, the largest river basin on Earth and also one of the least understood. A considerable segment of the population living in the estuary is directly dependent on the local extraction of natural resources for their livelihood. Areas sparsely inhabited may be exploited with few negative consequences for the environment. However, recent and increasing pressure on ecosystem services is maximised by a combination of factors such as governance, currency exchange rates, exports of beef and forest products. Here we present a cross methodological approach in identifying the political frontiers of forest cover change in the estuary with consequences for ecosystem services loss. We used a combination of data from earth observation satellites, ecosystem service literature, and official government statistics to produce spatially-explicit relationships linking the Green Vegetation Cover to the availability of ecosystems provided by forests in the estuary. Our results show that the continuous changes in land use/cover and in the economic state have contributed significantly to changes in key ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, climate regulation, and the availability of timber over the last thirty years.

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Journal Article
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Science of the Total Environment
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05 Aug 2016 14:30
Last Modified:
22 Mar 2022 02:58