Team: Eduardo Brondizio (lead), Analena Bruce, Stacey Giroux, James Farmer, New Faculty Lines, Research Scientists, and Post Doctoral Scholars.
Importance of Site: The Amazon basin is a global keystone region, and the Amazon estuary-delta in particular illustrates the opportunities and challenges faced by regions reconciling land use systems that provide staple food for regional populations while also participating in global food markets (Brondizio 2008). The region provides a critical opportunity for research on governing forest conservation and food production amid pressing social and environmental change (Vogt et al. 2015).
Site Description: The Amazon estuary-delta is both the largest estuary and delta on Earth and one of the most dynamic regions of the Amazon. It boasts the largest agroforestry-based economy of the region with cultivation of the acai palm fruit, which employs the majority of the rural population of the region. Açái fruit is a staple food for local and regional populations and is the most economically important non-timber forest product of the Amazon (Brondizio et al. 2013). The global boom of açái fruit has promoted a regional agroforestry transition, which contrasts with deforestation elsewhere in the Amazon (Brondizio 2004). At the same time, intensification of açái agroforestry has led to a decline in the production of annual crops, making the region an importer of other staple crops such as manioc and rice.
Data Collection Approach/Methods: This project will extend a longitudinal research program based on the collection of socio-demographic, economic, and environmental data at the level of households, rural communities, and municipalities and including multi-temporal remote sensing analysis of land use and land cover change. Household surveys were carried out in 1990/1991 and 2006/2007 with approximately 300 households across 6 rural communities. This project will allow for a new round of household surveys to be carried out in combination with new remote sensing analysis of land use and over change, as well as a new phase of supply chain analysis to examine the continuing expansion of the açái fruit economy and its impact on the economy and land use allocation of households.