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Environmental effects of the pasture-sugarcane conversion and pasture intensification

Grant number: 15/18790-3
Support type:Research Program on Global Climate Change - Thematic Grants
Duration: March 01, 2017 - February 28, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Luiz Antonio Martinelli
Grantee:Luiz Antonio Martinelli
Home Institution: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Co-Principal Investigators:Janaina Braga Do Carmo ; Luis Cesar Schiesari
Assoc. researchers:Arnaldo Alves Cardoso ; Cassiana Carolina Montagner Raimundo ; Eiko Eurya Kuramae ; Evaldo Luiz Gaeta Espindola ; Gisela de Aragão Umbuzeiro ; Heitor Cantarella ; Jorge Marcos de Moraes ; Katia Maria Paschoaletto Micchi de Barros Ferraz ; Luiz Felipe Mendes de Gusmão ; Marcelo Zacharias Moreira ; Michiel Adriaan Daam ; Paulo Inácio de Knegt López de Prado ; Plínio Barbosa de Camargo ; Raffaella Rossetto ; Robson Willians da Costa Silva ; Silvio Frosini de Barros Ferraz ; Solange Filoso ; Tadeu de Siqueira Barros ; Victor Satoru Saito
Associated scholarship(s):19/17132-3 - In situ assessment of ecotoxicological effects on the aquatic community from sugarcane expansion over pasturelands, BP.IC
19/17218-5 - Livestock production in intensified tropical grazing systems and its consequences for the environmental, BP.PD
19/16919-0 - Consequences of land conversion for sugarcane production to freshwater communities, BP.TT
+ associated scholarships 19/10668-5 - Environmental effects of the pasture-sugarcane conversion and pasture intensification, BP.PD
18/15068-3 - Effects of pesticides fipronil, 2,4-D and their mixtures in Daphnia Similis: a multiple endpoint approach, BP.IC
19/04198-6 - Impacts of sugarcane vinasse on neotropicals benthic aquatic macroinvertebrates, BP.IC
17/24126-4 - Effects of the pesticides fipronil and 2,4-D, isolately and in mixture, on native species of the Neotropical aquatic biota, BP.PD
18/03108-0 - Zebrafish embryo test as a tool for an integrated assessment of water quality in sugarcane impacted areas, BP.PD
17/23982-4 - Effects of the intensification in land use on algal biomass and productivity: a simulation of spatial isolation and agrochemical application in experimental freshwater systems, BP.IC
18/00771-0 - Conversion of low-to-high intensity pasture and to sugarcane fields: soil management impact, BP.DR
17/04858-0 - The production of bioethanol in Brazil and its consequence to the terrestrial ecosystem, BP.PD
17/18918-5 - Management of technologies generated in AUCUCAR cane expansion projects and their environmental effects, BP.PD
17/02455-6 - Denitrification and greenhouse gas emissions in riparian forests and small tropical streams, BP.PD
17/13377-6 - Evaluation of ecotoxicological effects of livestock products and sugarcane pesticides to amphibians, BP.PD
17/11332-5 - Phosphorus dynamics and its fractions in soils under pasture-sugarcane conversion and intensification in pastureland, BP.PD
17/04122-4 - Effects of local processes and spatial isolation on aquatic community assembly: a simulation of land use intensification, BP.DR
16/05706-7 - Sugarcane crop as emission source of reactive nitrogen compounds and its role in the environment, BP.DR - associated scholarships

Abstract

Sugarcane ethanol is an alcohol-based renewable biofuel produced by the fermentation of sugarcane extract and molasses, and Brazil is the world's largest producer of it. Brazil is also the largest producer of sugar; hence, sugarcane agriculture in the country is quite extensive, covering an area of about 10 million ha of arable land and ranking as the third largest crop after corn and soybean. Looking back, there is no doubt that Brazil's successful use of sugarcane significantly reduced the country's oil dependency, increased energy security, contributed to a thriving economy, and positioned Brazil as a world leader in the biofuel sector. In recent years, the increases in bioethanol consumption in the country and the production of bioelectricity from sugarcane solid waste have also reduced GHG emissions considerably. However, growing concerns about the social and environmental costs associated with ethanol production at a large scale have led to the development of indicators of environmental sustainability that allow quantifying both costs and benefits of biofuels benefits to society. The criteria adopted to assess biofuel sustainability are quite comprehensive and should help society to realize the benefits of biofuels. Nevertheless, our knowledge about the impacts of sugarcane ethanol produced in Brazil is still limited, especially for water and soils, and presents a serious obstacle in assessing sugarcane biofuel sustainability. One of the premises is that land requirements for biofuel should not exert extra pressure on native ecosystems or compete with food production by using the best agricultural lands. This premise implies that the expansion of biofuel crops like sugarcane should proceed without future clearings or without advancing over food crops. One alternative that has been considered to avoid clearing of native vegetation of Brazilian biomes is to expand energy crops in degraded or underutilized pasturelands. In order to free pastureland for other uses, the same number of animal heads, including future expansions, should be accommodated in an area smaller area by stocking rates (number of animals per hectare). We called this process "pasture intensification". Land use intensification to produce increase animal production per unit of pastureland or to convert pastureland to sugarcane has to be implemented in a way that preserves basic ecosystem integrity and maximizes the provision of ecosystem services. In order to do that, a set of environmental management practices conducive to that goal are needed. Based on this previous discussion, the goal of this project is to assess the environmental consequences of two major land intensifications that are critical for Brazil and the development of the bioenergy industry in other subtropical and tropical areas: the conversion of pasturelands to sugarcane fields, and the intensification in pastureland management that, potentially, enables such conversion. Our ultimate goal is to provide a series of management practices that would preserve the environmental integrity, and maximize ecosystem services. More specifically we will address how land intensification affects the water, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics, and how pollution (pesticides) and fragmentation from agriculture affect ecosystems functioning. In order to achieve such goal we propose the follow components of the project: (i) a set of paired field experiments where pasturelands plots will be intensified to increase the animal product output per unit area or converted to sugarcane fields with the purpose of investigating changes in nutrients and contaminants dynamics; (ii) at watershed level (100 to 1,000 ha), a series of studies to assess the effect of agricultural intensification on the landscape ecology and water cycle. (AU)

Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant
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Scientific publications (6)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SOLTANGHEISI, AMIN; WITHERS, PAUL J. A.; PAVINATO, PAULO SERGIO; CHERUBIN, MAURICIO ROBERTO; ROSSETTO, RAFFAELLA; DO CARMO, JANAINA BRAGA; DA ROCHA, GUSTAVO CASONI; MARTINELLI, LUIZ ANTONIO. Improving phosphorus sustainability of sugarcane production in Brazil. Global Change Biology Bioenergy, v. 11, n. 12, p. 1444-1455, DEC 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.
FREITAS, JULIANE SILBERSCHMIDT; GIROTTO, LAIS; GOULART, BIANCA VELOSO; GONCALVES ALHO, LAYS DE OLIVEIRA; GEBARA, RENAN CASTELHANO; MONTAGNER, CASSIANA CAROLINA; SCHIESARI, LUIS; GAETA ESPINDOLA, EVALDO LUIZ. Effects of 2,4-D-based herbicide (DMA (R) 806) on sensitivity, respiration rates, energy reserves and behavior of tadpoles. ECOTOXICOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY, v. 182, OCT 30 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.
SCHIESARI, LUIS; MATIAS, MIGUEL G.; PRADO, PAULO INACIO; LEIBOLD, MATHEW A.; ALBERT, CECILE H.; HOWETH, JENNIFER G.; LEROUX, SHAWN J.; PARDINI, RENATA; SIQUEIRA, TADEU; BRANCALION, PEDRO H. S.; CABEZA, MAR; COUTINHO, RENATO MENDES; FELIZOLA DINIZ-FILHO, JOSE ALEXANDRE; FOURNIER, BERTRAND; LAHR, DANIEL J. G.; LEWINSOHN, THOMAS M.; MARTINS, AYANA; MORSELLO, CARLA; PERES-NETO, PEDRO R.; PILLAR, VALERIO D.; VAZQUEZ, DIEGO P. Towards an applied metaecology. PERSPECTIVES IN ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION, v. 17, n. 4, p. 172-181, OCT-DEC 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.
DAAM, MICHIEL A.; MOUTINHO, MARIANA F.; ESPINDOLA, EVALDO L. G.; SCHIESARI, LUIS. Lethal toxicity of the herbicides acetochlor, ametryn, glyphosate and metribuzin to tropical frog larvae. ECOTOXICOLOGY, v. 28, n. 6, p. 707-715, AUG 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.
SCHIESARI, LUIS; MONTEIRO, ARTUR SGAMBATTI; ILHA, PAULO; POPE, NATHANIEL; CORREA, DECIO TADEU. The ecology of a system of natural mesocosms: Rock pools in the Atlantic Forest. Freshwater Biology, v. 63, n. 9, p. 1077-1087, SEP 2018. Web of Science Citations: 1.
SCHIESARI, LUIS; LEIBOLD, MATHEW A.; BURTON, JR., G. ALLEN. Metacommunities, metaecosystems and the environmental fate of chemical contaminants. JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY, v. 55, n. 3, p. 1553-1563, MAY 2018. Web of Science Citations: 6.

Please report errors in scientific publications list by writing to: cdi@fapesp.br.