Governing the Atlantic Forest transition: Improving our knowledge on forest recovery for ecosystem services


The historical decline of Atlantic Forest area in Brazil has now transitioned into a modest forest increase. The underlined voluntary nature of reforestation activities by landscape actors poses a large challenge to reforestation policy goals, since the vast agricultural areas in the state of Sao Paulo have a strong restorative effect on land rent prices. This makes reforestation highly expensive and as a result, mainly marginal land and degraded pasture land are restored. This will not always generate the desire effects in terms of biodiversity conservation and the provision of other ecosystem services.
In the context of a landscape approach, governance of ecosystem services requires the creation of shared rules among landscape actors that should lead to fair and sustainable use of ecosystem services. Rules can include incentives, but the relations between services and their perceived (economic) values may not scale linearly, jeopardizing the marginal benefits payment systems might achieve. Payments may also cause conflicts among actors and can lead to leakage effects. To improve the effectiveness of restoration strategies, the enabling policy environments for payments of ecosystem services need to be improved and will be studied in detail.
With increasing reforestation, the ecosystem processes and services may not be fully restored. Services are likely to be heterogeneously distributed in both space and time. Very often, spatial-temporal trade-offs are found among the various services provided by forests. To date, empirical evidence on the temporal and spatial distribution of ecosystem services delivered by reforestation and their trade-offs is largely unavailable, but new frameworks to study forest dynamics have been developed on which we will build further. We will adequately measure and model ecosystem services distributions to support landscape governance.
The project will therefore address the socio-ecological systems that drive forest change and the spatial distribution of ecosystem services in the landscape. The enabling policy environments will be assessed to develop proper incentives for forest restoration and provision of ES





Prof. dr. R.G.A. Boot

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Bètawetenschappen, Departement Biologie


08/04/2019 tot 08/04/2023