Temporal fluctuations in Amazonian deforestation rates

Ewers, Robert M., Laurance, William F., and Souza, Carlos M. (2008) Temporal fluctuations in Amazonian deforestation rates. Environmental Conservation, 35 (4). pp. 303-310.

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Abstract

Tropical deforestation is one of the most important components of global change. Rates of deforestation in Brazil, the nation with the single largest concentration of tropical forest on Earth, have fluctuated widely over the last twenty years. Based on local knowledge, such fluctuations have been variously attributed to a wide range of factors such as the expansion of cattle ranching and soybean farming, infrastructural expansion and the proliferation of paved and unpaved roads, macroeconomic shocks to the Brazilian economy and international exchange rates. Many, if not all, of these arguments are plausible explanations for temporal variation in deforestation rates, but have to date not been subjected to rigorous statistical testing; this study investigates the potential impact of these variables on Brazilian tropical deforestation over the period 1990-2005. When analysed at the basin-wide scale, nearly all variables were highly inter-correlated through time and were also closely correlated with deforestation rate, but appropriate time-series analysis found no statistical evidence that any of the variables have systematically caused variation in deforestation rates. Power analysis showed that the variables may exert small or medium influences on deforestation rates, but the impacts, if present, are not strong. Future analyses of time series data at finer spatial scales that exploit spatiotemporal variation in deforestation rates and in the hypothesized predictor variables may find significant causal processes that arc overlooked when analysed at the basin-wide scale.

Item ID: 27558
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-4387
Keywords: agriculture, Brazilian Amazon, cattle ranching, commodity prices, deforestation, domestic economy, exchange rate, soya, time series
Funders: David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2013 09:12
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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