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Topic 1: DEFORESTATION

Cerrado is among the biomes that suffer most from deforestation in Brazil, and in the last five years the deforested area has varied, annually, between 5 thousand km² and 10 thousand km².1 Most recent data show that 46% of native Cerrado region has already been lost, more than 900,000 km², an area approximately the size of Venezuela.2 Most of the southern, southeastern and central western regions of the biome have already been deforested, remaining only small parts of Protected Areas in Cerrado.3 The main remains are located in the northern region, in an area called MATOPIBA (acronym for MAranhão, TOcantis, PIauí and BAhia), where more than 70% of deforestation has occurred in recent years, and it is the current agricultural frontier of the biome.3 Deforestation occurs for different reasons, which are presented in other topics, but in all cases it results in significant impacts and it must be fought.

Topic 2: INCREASES SOIL COMPACTION

The roots of Cerrado trees are famous for their length, commonly three times their trunk, so much so that Cerrado is known as the "upside down forest".4,5 In addition to seeking water from deep layers of soil, these roots provide greater porosity in the soil, leaving it "fluffier", and these pores allow water to infiltrate during the rains.6 And when there is no vegetation, rain acts as a compactor. Unprotected surface water drainage maximizes the emergence of erosion up to 20 times, which can cause different impacts on the soil (Topic 24) and the water cycle (Topic 3) of Cerrado.7

Topic 3: AFFECTS THE WATER CYCLE

The presence of native Cerrado vegetation provides better storage and infiltration of water into the soil, which helps to supply aquifers, and in turn sustain rivers in dry periods.8 Thus, the removal of this vegetation affects the water cycle, which is the constant movement of water in the oceans, continents and atmosphere.9 Erosion is among the main impacts caused by the loss of vegetation cover, as it provides accelerated water drainage at the surface due to soil compaction (Topic 2). In addition, the loss of vegetation alters evapotranspiration, the passage of water from plants to the air, essentially because Cerrado native species have a great ability to collect water from deep soil.7,10,11 On the other hand, cultivated areas, which contain low plant diversity, tend to have a 77% lower evapotranspiration than native areas in dry periods.12

Topic 4: REDUCES WATER AVAILABILITY IN DRY PERIODS

Different studies point out the high water consumption promoted by irrigated agriculture and livestock as one of the main elements causing water crisis in Cerrado.6,13–15 In order to have a better idea, agriculture and livestock together consume 78.3% of all the water available in the country.16 This consumption is even more intense in Cerrado, as 80% of the irrigation systems (pivots) are in this biome.

Topic 5: WATER SHORTAGE IN CITIES


About one billion people have no access to water, but in many regions of the world per capita water consumption reaches up to 1,000 liters daily.17 More than half of Brazil's population is in urban areas, increasing water demand in cities.18 Among the main impacts of the disorderly growth of cities is the increase of soil impermeability; reduction of aquifer recharge; reduction of water drainage and reduction of evapotranspiration, as mentioned in topic 4.18 Furthermore, environmental degradations that occur in rural environments, such as deforestation for agricultural expansion, affect water availability in many river basins (Topic 3). Using a simple analogy, deforesting areas of urban supply springs is like drilling your house's water tank. For this reason, deforestation in rural areas is closely associated to water crises in cities.


Topic 6: SOCIAL COSTS

Since last century the global use of water has increased a lot, most of it for agricultural purposes.19 The amount of water used by humans and its respective usage methods have consequences for the environment and the society. Examples of this social cost are: increased food prices due to the increase of water cost; unproductive land, from which people cannot make a living; conflicts between different water users; migration of people to areas with greater water availability, among others.19 Thus, the misuse of water resources affects water availability in some regions, increases vulnerability of human populations and increases treatment costs, as well as affects health and biodiversity loss.20 Water social cost is also reflected in water shortage in cities (Topic 5) due to poor water distribution and impacts on the water cycle (Topic 3).

Topic 7: LAND AND MONEY CONCENTRATION

According to the latest agricultural census, conducted in 2017, less than 1% of landowners concentrate 47.5% of the country's entire rural area.21 Land concentration is connected to rural exodus, natural resources use, environmental degradation and income concentration in a small percentage of the Brazilian population, which is associated to an agricultural model based on monoculture latifundium, aimed at the production of commodities for export and not for the production of food for local consumption.22 These concentrations are one of the structural causes for increased social inequality (Topic 8), due to poor land and income distribution.22

Topic 8: INCREASES SOCIAL INEQUALITY

Brazil's social inequality is due to its long and complex historic process.23 Income concentration in a minority of the population is one of the main factors for these inequalities.23 Moreover, land concentration (Topic 7) in Brazil is one of the main agents for social inequality, according to Filho and Fonte (2009). There are signs of land inequality naturalization and lack of adequate public policies for the composition reordering of land distribution in the country.24

Topic 9: PRESERVE NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS

Biodiversity is declining worldwide, mainly due to human actions. About 25% of plant and animal species are under some level of danger.19 Although Cerrado is the most biodiverse savanna in the world, it also suffers from constant losses of its biodiversity and many of these losses are irreversible.26 Nature preservation is extremely important both for the preservation of natural ecosystems and for humans, since ecosystem functions as a whole are essential to maintain life on earth.27 Examples of these functions/services are: pollination, water supply, soil fertilization, climate stabilization, pest control, among many others. The creation and reinforcement of Conservation Units (Topic 38), the protection of Indigenous Lands and the sustainable use of resources, are some of the mechanisms in order to preserve Cerrado biodiversity.

Topic 10: STORE CARBON AND MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE

Protected areas and Cerrado species diversity allow greater carbon storage.28 On the other hand, human-induced disturbances reduce the amount of biomass and carbon storage, as well as the reduction of biodiversity.28 A person belonging to a traditional community, who practices sustainable productive activities in Cerrado, avoids the emission of 134 average urban citizens every year.29 Results show that traditional and indigenous communities return relevant benefits for global climate change mitigation.29 In addition, Cerrado is an important carbon reserve, storing approximately 13.7 billion tons of CO2.30 Therefore, the preservation of natural ecosystems (Topic 9) and the promotion of traditional cultures and their agricultural systems (Topic 14) are some of the mitigation mechanisms that allow reducing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

Topic 11: PROMOTE THE CERRADO REMAINING AREA

Sociobiodiversity products depend on Cerrado remaining area and have the potential to generate income for rural communities.31 As Cerrado remaining areas are often undervalued and low priced, rural producers prefer to expand productive areas rather than improve productive techniques in areas that have already been deforested.33 This leads to low productivity situations. In order to have a better idea, the average number of cattle per hectare in Cerrado is about 1 ox per hectare.33,34 Therefore, improvements in agricultural practices could reduce deforestation and environmental degradation present in Cerrado.33 When there is a reinforcement to use Cerrado remaining area, an alternative to deforestation and a stimulus to preservation is generated.31 Traditional communities have a major role in this process, as they contribute to the environmental preservation and recognition of Cerrado ecological wealth; they provide increased income and family food diversification,31 in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Topic 10).

Topic 12: STIMULATE COMMUNITY-BASED AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST GATHERING ACTIVITIES

Cerrado population is composed of numerous traditional populations and communities, such as quilombolas, geraizeiros, babaçu coconut breakers, indigenous peoples, flower pickers and family farmers, who are rural communities in which forest gathering activities is the main livelihood.35 Support for traditional populations and family farmers effectively contributes to the in situ preservation of Cerrado biodiversity in multiple use landscapes.36 We have some good examples of communities with low impact interactions in the biome.36 The study carried out by Sá et al. (2018) states that coquinho azedo (Butia capitata) populations manage to maintain their natural regeneration, even in areas under the management of these forest gathering activities populations.
In addition to biodiversity preservation, organized communities are able to promote participatory land management, thus influencing the creation and management of Conservation Units, such as the Nascentes Geraizeiras Sustainable Development Reserve in Minas Gerais; and laws and public policies reinforcing agroextractivism, such as the state law for licuri protection in Bahia and the minimum price increase of babaçu nuts.29

Topic 13: STIMULATES FAMILY AGRICULTURE THAT FEEDS BRAZIL

Family agriculture is based on land cultivation by people from the same families. This food production takes place on small properties and it is intended to feed the country's internal market.37 The work done by family agriculture results in significant annual revenue for the Brazilian economy.37 According to the latest Agricultural Census (2017), family agriculture is the economic base of 90% of Brazilian municipalities with up to 20,000 inhabitants.37 It is responsible for producing 70% of national beans, 87% of cassava and 46% of maize. The sector also accounts for 60% of milk production, 59% of swine cattle and 50% of poultry.37 Furthermore, family agriculture has a less environmental impact than agribusiness, as it is more sustainable and to a lesser extent (Topic 17).38

Topic 14: PROMOTE CULTURE, TRADITIONS AND THEIR TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS

Besides housing a huge diversity of flora and fauna species, Cerrado is also a territory of cultural diversity expressed by indigenous peoples, traditional communities and family farmers; the populations take from agroextractivism their main subsistence and well-being. The relationship between these populations and communities with their territory is deep, passed on from generation to generation and present in their lifestyles. Indigenous peoples and quilombolas have had constitutional rights to land since at least the 1988 Constitution; however, many other traditional Cerrado communities do not have this constitutional guarantee and do not have their territories delimited.35 On the other hand, these territories are important corridors between official protected areas, such as Conservation Units and Indigenous Lands, since traditional communities still occupy a large part of Cerrado remaining natural vegetation.39
It is important for the entire society to be aware of these communities so they can value, support and reinforce their role regarding the preservation of natural resources, food production and cultural manifestations that formed the Brazilian society and are a source of fundamental knowledge and practices in order to meet contemporary challenges such as climate change adaptation.

Topic 15: COLLABORATES WITH BIODIVERSITY MAINTENANCE

Cerrado is extremely rich in terms of diversity, with more than 14 thousand species of plants and vertebrates; of this total, more than 12 thousand species are catalogued as native plants.39 However, its biodiversity remains poorly understood and each year many new species are described, which indicates that there is a significant biodiversity still to be discovered.40 According to Marinho-Filho et al. (2010), the biome presents a high level of endemism, mainly regarding the flora. Estimates point to approximately 320 thousand species of fauna, from which 67 thousand are invertebrates and correspond to 20% of this biome's biota.41 Due to its great heterogeneity, it is home to up to 5% of the world's fauna and about one third of the Brazilian fauna.41
With such biodiversity, there is the need to think about all the ecological interactions, the sustainable landscape uses made by rural communities, the conscious consumption by urban populations and how to interact with this biome minimizing biodiversity losses.

Topic 16: PROTECTS INCOME-GENERATING PHARMACEUTICALS AND BIODIVERSITY RESOURCES

Traditional and indigenous communities are directly related to biodiversity, which results in a wealth of knowledge about flora and fauna.42 Cerrado has great potential for pharmaceutical production, as it is the most biodiverse savanna in the world.26 Roots, barks, leaves, oils and other Cerrado natural resources are used by traditional communities to manufacture traditional medicines, based on the knowledge transmitted from generation to generation.43 This knowledge constitutes the People's Cerrado Pharmacopoeia. Rootworkers are specialists in characterizing Cerrado environments, identifying their medicinal plants, collecting the plant medicinal part, diagnosing diseases, preparing and identifying home remedies.43 Barbatimão is one example of Cerrado plants that has a traditional medicinal use. Its bark is used as a healing agent for skin wounds, to treat gastritis, uterus infection, among many other uses.43 In addition, the use of Cerrado plants such as araticum, cagaita, lobeira and tucum can be preventive against chronic diseases.44 Thus, the sustainable use of biodiversity is associated with its preservation, since the extinction of plants and animals may represent the loss of a new pharmaceutical for mankind.45 Therefore, knowledge generated by traditional communities and scientists can result in great benefits for the population in the countryside and the city, in addition to positive economic impacts (Topic 46).

Topic 17: CONSUMPTION AND SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION CHAIN

Sustainable production must incorporate the notion of limits in the supply of natural resources and the environment ability to absorb the impacts of human action.46 For production to be sustainable it needs to have low greenhouse gas emissions and less use of energy and other resources, and especially not to involve deforestation.46 Thus, promoting the production chain of Cerrado species and family agriculture is important to find a more sustainable consumption.4 Consumers have an important role when avoiding high-impact products because they reduce the demand for the production of these products.47 In the case of our biome, meat consumption (especially beef) is one of the main causes for deforestation.

Topic 18: FOOD CONSUMPTION FROM BIODIVERSITY

Biodiversity in food and agriculture is essential for food security and sustainable development.48 Moreover, biodiversity conservation makes production systems and subsistence means more resistant to impacts and conflicts, including those caused by climate change.48 Regarding food consumption in terms of Cerrado species, this is yet under explored; however, studies show that Cerrado native fruits have health benefits, in addition to containing a wealth of flavors and nutrients.44 Thus, the knowledge of Cerrado biodiversity products provides a conscious productive chain consumption (Topic 17), carried out by Cerrado's traditional community agroextractivism.

Topic 19: INTERNATIONAL DEMAND FOR COMMODITIES

Brazil is one of the world's leading producers of agricultural commodities, where soy and meat have a dominant role with their high economic returns and land occupation.49 A large proportion of Brazil's agricultural production is exported to other countries,49 and Cerrado is currently the largest producer of agricultural commodities and beef exporter in Brazil, accounting for 42% of soybean exports and 44% of meat.3 50 More than half of all soy produced in Cerrado is exported.51 This shows strong pressure from international demand for soybeans and other agricultural products, causing increases in deforestation and Cerrado greenhouse gas emissions.51 In addition, commodities stimulate latifundia production in Cerrado (Topic 20).

Topic 20: STIMULATES PRODUCTION IN MONOCULTURAL LATIFUNDIA

Brazil has a long extension of land, but most of it belongs to a few landowners, as mentioned in topic 7.52 In general, rural producers can be divided into two large groups: the so-called Small Rural Producers and the Monocultural Landowners. Small producers can be family and community, producing 70% of the food consumed in the country, occupying 23% of the rural land and employing 67% of the people in the countryside.53 On the other hand, Monocultural Latifundia produce essentially for export, basically commodities such as soy, meat, milk and they employ less than half of the rural workforce.53
The growth of Brazilian agriculture has been followed by massive deforestation, especially due to the expansion of monocultures which is characterized by growing a single agricultural species in a given area.54 Thus, environmental impacts resulting from monoculture land-based growth lead to significant environmental degradation, such as soil impoverishment (Topic 24) caused by the continuous production of the same plant and its contamination, generated by the constant use of fertilizers and pesticides.52 Besides environmental impacts there are also social impacts, such as pressure for rural exodus from land-dependent communities due to poor land distribution.32

Topic 21: DEFORESTING FOOD

According to the latest MapBiomas surveys 43% of Cerrado has already been converted into agricultural areas and only 54% of the biome is of native vegetation remnants.2 These latter are not evenly distributed, since the biome's northern region possesses 90% of the remnants and the southern region only 15%.3
Much of the deforestation generated by agricultural production in Cerrado is induced by international demand, especially for agricultural commodities (Topic 19). So, nowadays, Cerrado is the main producer of meat and soybeans in Brazil. According to Trase, in 2017 alone production in Cerrado exported 47 million tons of soybeans and 930,000 tons of beef.50
The production of these commodities causes several environmental damages, such as the rapid increase of deforestation, mainly in the northern region of Cerrado, which consequently generates biodiversity loss, soil impoverishment and water resource contamination. In terms of fresh water consumption, a scarce resource, about 70% is globally consumed by agricultural production.55 Beef production chain has a much larger water footprint than agriculture due to water usage, which starts with the cultivation of animal feed and ends with the consumer.56
Thus, it is clear that the production chain of agriculture and cattle is currently not sustainable. Poore and Nemecek (2020) have identified some strategies that can be taken to mitigate the impacts of these productions. For example, choosing a diet can provide environmental benefits on a scale not achievable by producers, such as reduced land use and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.47 Changing into a diet without animal protein can reduce land use by up to 76% and 49% of emissions. In addition, it is important for producers to monitor their own impacts in order to better define mitigation strategies; and the consumer has an important role when choosing low-impact products.47

Topic 22: AFFECTS THE COUNTRY'S FOOD SECURITY

Biodiversity loss, water and soil contamination and climate change are some of the factors affecting the food security of thousands of people around the world.57,58 It is not different in Brazil. More than 7 million people have no access to alimentation, which points that there is still much to be done in order to ensure food security for Brazilian people. Although Brazil is the most commodities producer (Topic 19), generated products are not able to guarantee food security, because the largest percentage is to be exported.59 Moreover, this production mode stimulates the creation of monocultural latifundia (Topic 20), which as a consequence generates social inequality (Topic 7) and environmental impacts. Thus, it is understandable that family agriculture is one of the production modes that enables food security for Brazilian people, since it is currently the food source for over 70% of the population, as mentioned in topic 13.37

Topic 23: FIRES

Natural fires in Cerrado start with lightning, which usually occur between the transition of dry and rainy periods, reaching smaller areas due to the presence of humidity and rain.62 Agricultural expansion and production, along with suppressive fire management policies, are the main causes of fires in Cerrado.63 The impacts resulting from frequent fires, especially in dry season, threaten biodiversity and emit greenhouse gases (Topic 29), making ecosystems more susceptible to fire and altering Cerrado's natural fire activity.62

Topic 24: IMPOVERISHES THE SOIL

Cerrado soil is considered poor from the point of view of cultivated plants, as it has low nutritional availability. However, soil in the biome is not poor in relation to native plants, since they are adapted to these conditions.64 Constant losses of vegetation cover in Cerrado impoverish the soil; and among the main causes of these losses are agriculture and fires (Topic 23), which intensify degradation processes such as biodiversity loss, soil erosion, decrease in the soil infiltration rate, natural resource loss, among other damages.65

Topic 25: INCREASES THE DEMAND FOR AGRICULTURAL INPUTS

The use of agricultural inputs negatively affects human health and the environment.66 Their waste is already registered in the soil, water and air, causing impacts such as soil acidification, water resource pollution and intoxication of organisms and humans. 66,67 In Brazil, between 2000 and 2016, the consumption of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium increased from 6.5 million to 15 million tons. This significant increase is due to the high demand for inputs in crops. Low nutrient availability for cultivated plants in Cerrado soil is one of the main reasons for the constant use of agricultural inputs, 64 maximizing the process of soil impoverishment (Topic 24).

Topic 26: CROP FAILURES

Agriculture is the main economic activity that releases greenhouse gases and it is responsible for 25% of emissions in Brazil.69 Thus, climatic variations resulting from the agricultural process directly affect the own agricultural production due to its dependence on natural resources and biological processes.68 In Brazil, climate change may reduce the area to grow soybeans, coffee, maize, rice, beans and cotton, and may lead to a loss of R$ 7.4 billion.68 Analyses show an annual loss of around R$ 11 billion (1% of the agricultural GDP) due to extreme events and resulting in increased production costs (Topic 44).68 For example, Spera et al. (2020) identified that climate change in Cerrado, due to the deforestation process, reduces maize yields between 6% and 8%.70 In addition, the decrease of ecosystem services also generates losses in this sector. It is estimated that 5 to 8% of the global crop would be lost without pollination services.71

Topic 27: MAXIMIZES GREENHOUSE EFFECT AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Despite its importance, Cerrado is often neglected in national and international debates on climate change.72 The current conversion rate of Cerrado is not sustainable, releasing large volumes of carbon dioxide, as mentioned in topic 29.51 Climate models predict changes in temperature, amount and distribution of rain varying according to Cerrado regions, which intensifies extreme weather phenomena (Topic 43).73 As in the case of the Cerrado-Amazonia transition region, where weather extremes occurred, with warmer days and nights and, in some locations, there was an increase and decrease in the volume of rain.74 In addition, agricultural production maximizes climate change due to the environmental degradations resulting from agricultural expansion, as well as it has been shown that deforestation for maize production in large areas alters Cerrado's rain activity.70

Topic 28: MOVES US AWAY FROM CLIMATE TARGETS

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, anthropogenic emissions from the pre-industrial period to the present cause changes in the climate system and may lead to global warming. Richer countries are the main contributors to historical greenhouse gas emissions and generally have the highest per capita emissions, with poor countries as the most affected countries. Climate change chain reactions can cause significant disturbances on ecosystems, society and economies, potentially making large areas of the Earth uninhabitable.76
Brazil is underperforming in meeting the climate targets agreed upon in the Paris agreement,75 especially with the increase in 2019 of 50% in deforestation alerts, particularly in Cerrado and Amazonia, when compared to 2018 as measured by DETER, moving Brazil away from the targets and resulting in higher greenhouse gas emissions (Topic 29).75 To meet climate targets, a new policy and governance structure would be required and that currently does not exist in the Brazilian federal government.75

Topic 29: GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

The 2019 Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals Estimation System (SEEG) report identified that 44% of greenhouse gas emissions are due to land use changes, especially deforestation in Amazonia and Cerrado. According to the same report, deforestation increased greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil by 11 percent between 1990 and 2018. In addition, deforestation in Cerrado emitted approximately 248 million gross tons, more than double the emission of the industrial process in Brazil.77 Cerrado fires, mentioned in topic 23, are also one of the main emitters.78 Emissions resulting from the conversion of native vegetation to soybean production areas for export are responsible for the release of billions tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.51 Improving the quantification of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions will depend on an integrated government strategy at the federal, state and municipal levels, along with scientific development.

Topic 30: BREAKS ECOLOGICAL RELATIONSHIPS

Landscape fragmentation due to deforestation, as mentioned in topic 34, breaks ecological relationships generated by species dispersion in between the remaining areas. Therefore, the effect of losses in ecological relationships can cause impacts on fire dynamics, carbon sequestration, growth of invasive species, losses in biochemical exchanges between soil, water and atmosphere, among others.81 In addition, agricultural production depends on the vital ecosystem services provided by biodiversity and its relationships.79 We can use as examples the impact of bee loss related to hundreds of fruit plants, the plant-bee relationship the ecosystem function of pollination is lost and this is fundamental for the survival of several plants, in addition to plants grown by agriculture,82 which causes increased expenses for this agricultural sector (Topic 31).

Topic 31: DECREASES BIODIVERSITY AND INCREASES EXPENSES

Natural environment degradation caused by mining, farming or other uses has significant impacts on biodiversity as addressed in topic 35, resulting in habitat loss for flora and fauna and leading to increases in production costs.83 Different studies show that maintaining native areas increases productivity and reduces costs, as it is the case of coffee production, which within Cerrado areas has a higher productivity than isolated coffee plantations, because it increases pollinator availability.82 Knowing that about 75% of human food depends directly and indirectly on pollinating animals, it is estimated that 5 to 8% of global crops would be lost without pollination services.82

Topic 32: DECREASES GENETIC DIVERSITY AND GENE FLOW

Habitat fragmentation can cause severe damage to genetic diversity such as population reduction and species extinction.84 As identified in studies, Cerrado plants present in environments with high levels of environmental stress have low genetic wealth.84 In Cerrado, areas with high genetic variability do not take place only within the protected areas and are distributed throughout the biome.84 Consequently, the isolation of protected areas, mentioned in topic 34, reduces genetic variability in populations as it affects the movement of species and exchange of genetic materials.85

Topic 33: HIGH ENVIRONMENTAL RECOVERY COSTS

The degraded area is the one that has suffered disturbances in its integrity, whether of physical, chemical or biological nature.86 Among the main impacts caused by environmental degradations are the loss of genetic diversity (Topic 32) and the loss of fauna and flora habitats (Topic 35).
Environmental restoration costs of degraded areas may vary according to the degree of disturbance suffered by the environment. Thereby, the ecosystem resilient capacity may be compromised when the disturbance achieves high intensities and may cause irreversible damage, such as the extinction of species. Furthermore, accelerated impacts on the ecosystem threaten ecosystem services, which can represent huge costs when trying to recover them.

Topic 34: LANDSCAPE FRAGMENTATION: ISOLATES PROTECTED AND PRESERVED AREAS

Cerrado protected areas are of great importance to maintain biodiversity because they house a great diversity of species.87 However, only 8.3% of the Cerrado area is covered by conservation units.88 These areas suffer with deforestation threats inside and outside their boundaries.88 The loss of native vegetation areas causes reduction or loss of connectivity between protected areas, thus, creating barriers that obstruct the movement of species and generating the break of ecological relationships, as seen in topic 30.89

Topic 35: LEADS TO LOSS OF HABITATS FOR FAUNA AND FLORA

One of the main conditions to maintain a native species, be it fauna or flora, is its habitat preservation, therefore deforesting native areas is the main cause of biodiversity loss in the world.91 As almost half of the biome has been deforested, countless species that we did not even know have been extinct and a total of 138 species are endangered.92 There are several examples, and just to mention one, the case of Lobo Guará (Chrysocyon brachyurus): currently, vulnerable to extinction, he is strongly endangered by habitat loss caused by deforestation.93 We should also remember that the Guará wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) plays an important role in dispersing seeds from several plants, among them the Lobeira (Solanum lycocarpum), which is one of the main trees able to survive in degraded areas and still are recovering.93

Topic 36: MINING

Much of Cerrado deforestation occurs in relatively flat areas with suitable soils or for cattle or large-scale agriculture.3 However, slope areas and hilltops are not safe, as they are sometimes the target of mining interests. Quartzite, Nickel, Manganese, Gold, Iron, Clay, Limestone are some of the ores that cause interest in ploughing sensitive areas of Cerrado.4 Sometimes, areas with tourist potential, rich in waterfalls, are also claimed by mining companies, as happens in several regions of Cerrado, such as Niquelândia - GO, Chapada dos Veadeiros - GO, Pirenópolis - GO and Codó - MA. The impact is not limited only to the site of extraction and mining, since this activity sediments extend over great distances into the biome, especially by water and air contamination.4 It is important remembering the almost infeasibility of recovering mining areas due to organic matter removal in large amounts, which reduces soil fertility, in addition to local biodiversity loss.94
Moreover, mining affects traditional and indigenous communities located in the exploration area, due to environmental degradations caused by large mining projects, which affects the way of living of these local communities and generates conflicts (Topic 42). 4

Topic 37: UNCONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION

Since the end of the 18th century, humans has been transforming Earth at an unprecedented rate and in an unsustainable manner, increasing the use of natural resources, production of polluting waste and environmental degradation.95 An example of these degradations resulting from unsustainable consumption is water pollution in a process faster than nature can recycle and purify in rivers and lakes, contributing to global water stress.96 Unsustainable consumption is also linked to social inequality (Topic 8). We can mention the difference in food distribution, where about 3 billion tons of food are wasted every year, while almost 1 billion people are undernourished and another 1 billion starve.96 Substantial environmental impacts of food take place in the agricultural production stage, because people influence these impacts due to their food choices and habits (Topic 21).96 Regarding the impacts of mining (Topic 36) to manufacture products, it was identified in the Climate Accountability Institute report that only 25 companies and state-owned companies are responsible for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions, and the Brazilian state-owned Petrobras is in the 20th position of companies with the highest emissions.

Topic 38: CREATE AND STRENGTHEN CONSERVATION UNITS

One of the main purposes of Brazilian Conservation Units (CU) is to maintain biological diversity and genetic resources in national territory.97 However, CUs represent only 8.3% of Cerrado and this percentage drops to 6.5% when considering only part covered by native vegetation.88 And it draws attention to the low capacity of some types of CUs to avoid deforestation, being more related to land use planning, such as Environmental Protection Areas (EPA), which concentrate 85% of deforestation in CUs.88 In addition, the different ways to avoid CUs deforestation are associated with restriction degree, government sphere, size and history of the units.98 However, it is important to emphasize that protected areas play an important role in protecting the natural habitat of Cerrado biome.98 Among the protected areas are not only CUs, but also indigenous lands and quilombola territories, that play a significant role in the conservation of the biome.

Topic 39: PREVENTS FIRES AND STIMULATES CONTROLLED BURNINGS

Fires have been present in cerrado for millennia as an evolutionary force.99 Thus, fire is a crucial factor to maintain structure, biodiversity and functioning of Cerrado ecosystems.60 So, fire dynamics is essential to maintain the mosaic of native vegetation types.60 Fire suppression causes the loss of species that demand light such as herbaceous or shrubby species, because Cerrado becomes more open after the burning, thus allowing the light to get to those species.60 In addition, fire suppression for long periods of time causes high intensity forest fires due to flammable material accumulation in large amounts.60 Thus, according to Pivello (2011) in cerrado conservation areas, adequate fire management programs are necessary, based on scientific knowledge and on the incorporation of traditional experience of indigenous peoples. This benefits the promotion of Cerrado remaining area (Topic 11) and the culture and tradition promotion of traditional communities (Topic 14). We should bear in mind that arson fires or fires are harmful to Cerrado.

Topic 40: INDIGENOUS LANDS PROTECT

Indigenous Lands in Brazil have lower deforestation rates than official protected areas, even those which are full protected.98 They are also effective in terms of containing deforestation in high-pressure areas.100 Cerrado houses around 216 Indigenous Lands and 83 different ethnic groups.35 These Indigenous Lands are extremely important for the preservation of Cerrado natural habitats, even if the main purpose of these areas is not environmental conservation.98 Although the largest intact areas of Cerrado are Indigenous Lands, these traditional communities are under intense pressure caused by the expansion of crops and cattle.39 This taking into account that many Indigenous Lands are isolated in the middle of areas occupied by agriculture and urban areas.

Topic 41: PRIVATE RESERVES

Protecting ecosystems is everyone's task, not just the state's. Rural owners have an important role in this task, because before being agricultural producers, they are unconditional managers of natural resources, since the rural producer depends on the climate, soil nutrients, pollination, water availability and quality, among so many other ecosystem services. Therefore, protecting natural environments that protect these services should be something natural to the rural owner, and some, more involved and aware of these issues, protect areas beyond their Legal Reserves, creating Private Natural Heritage Reserves. RPPNs are Sustainable Use Conservation Units that are created from the initiative of rural owners. This selects an area of the property to be maintained for conservation purposes. Cerrado has more than 250 RPPNs, totaling more than 170,000 hectares, which is equivalent to 24% of the country's RPPNs. There is great conservation potential of Cerrado through the creation of RPPNs.

Topic 42: PRESSURES THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND CREATES CONFLICTS 

Due to the historical occupation process of Brazil’s countryside, and consequent immense Brazilian land problem, as well as to the consequences of more than 300 years of enslavement, among other issues, a huge number of rural communities in the Cerrado do not have the title of the land they occupy. These communities have occupied their territories for hundreds of years and are considered squatters according to the law. This condition makes them vulnerable to major infrastructure and development projects and to the profitable advance of agribusiness.101 As a consequence, the rural peoples live in a constant situation of resistance and confrontation, involving the struggle for land, water, rights, and for means of work or production to guarantee their access to natural resources and maintenance of their lifestyles and survival.102 A study by the Pastoral Land Commission (Comissão Pastoral da Terra - CPT Nacional) points to the registration of 1,833 conflicts in rural areas in 2019, of these 1,206 were occurrences of land conflict that involved some form of violence caused by alleged landowners or land grabbers.102

Topic 43: INTENSIFIES EXTREME WEATHER PHENOMENA SUCH AS DROUGHTS AND FLOODS 

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change caused by humans is responsible for the frequent occurrence of extreme events such as long periods of drought and torrential rains.103 The impacts generated by these changes are diverse, they can affect from food production to sea level rise, with the most vulnerable populations suffering the greatest impacts.104,105 In addition to local climatic variations, human actions are causing an increase in the average global surface temperature, as highlighted by the fifth assessment report from the IPCC, which identified a temperature rise of 0.85 ºC between 1880 and 2012.106

Topic 44: LOSSES AND THE INCREASE IN PRODUCTION COSTS 

The results of agricultural activity are related to the quality of the various farmers’ decisions, before, during, and after the production process.68 The formation of agricultural input prices is influenced by the price of international raw materials, agricultural commodities, and oil.68 For instance, more than 40% of the total production cost of the main agricultural crops corresponds to fertilizers spendings.68 Thus, environmental variations caused by environmental degradation directly influence the cost of production as mentioned in topic 45, generating great losses such as crop failures (topic 26).

Topic 45: INCREASES THE PRICES OF LIVESTOCK AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

The physical environment such as climate, soil, rainfall presents environmental factors that have a great influence on agricultural and livestock production and productivity.107 Research shows that the efficiency or inefficiency of agricultural and livestock production is a result not only of factors controllable by producers, such as land, labor, and capital but also of environmental conditions, such as the natural fertility of the soil and the climate.107 This can cause producers, subjected to environmental restrictions, to use more factors and agricultural inputs as a way to compensate for these restrictions. The chemical inputs market significantly affects the economy.108 However, very little investment is made in the development of technologies to reduce the excessive use of chemical inputs in production.108 Therefore, the excessive use of these inputs causes environmental degradation, directly affecting the production and prices of agricultural and livestock products.

Topic 46: BENEFITS RURAL AND CITY POPULATIONS 

Maintaining the Cerrado remaining area is contributing to the maintenance of ecosystem services linked to water, biodiversity, and carbon stock that contribute to climate regulation; what benefits everyone, whether in the countryside or the cities. This means guaranteeing the minimum resources for agriculture, such as soil fertility, quality water, and pollinators, as well as enabling the extractivism of native products such as fruits, fibers, barks. These activities carried out by rural populations, in addition to contributing to their food safety and generating income, also directly benefit urban populations, with the supply of quality food at fair prices, especially when they are commercialized directly by producers and their organizations.
In this regard, a good example of a connection between the countryside and the city are the Communities that Support Agriculture (CSAs), forms of organization between farmers and consumers (co-farmers) in which everyone shares the responsibility, risks, and benefits of food production when assuming functions in this process, such as planting, financial management, and distribution, besides creating moments of coexistence between the group. When urban consumers become co-farmers, they have the opportunity to participate and understand the production process and, with that, appreciate and value the space and the rural population.
This rural-city proximity is important to raise awareness of the disparities that occur in rural areas and to engage society in actions that promote structural changes: more than 70% of agricultural establishments in Brazil are classified as family farms, however, they represent only 23% of the total area of ​​establishments.109 It is an accentuated historical contradiction, for example, due to the lack of public policies for incentives for innovation in family farming and for the development of productive chains for Cerrado products.

Topic 49: STIMULATES LAND GRABBING PROCESSES

Since the Portuguese colonization, the occupation of Brazilian territory has been quite disordered, without control by the public power and the adequate separation between public and private lands.68 Currently, the crossing of data from different official sources indicates that 16.6% of Brazilian land registries do not have an official possession record.110 This scenario enables land grabbing, which is the process of forging documents to obtain possession of a given land. In this context, there is great inequality in the distribution of land in the country, 48% of all private land is concentrated in the hands of 2% of the owners.110 Social inequality, violence in the countryside, malfunctioning of land markets, and illegal deforestation are some of the effects of Brazil's land problems.111

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