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Expansion of ethanol: quantification of direct and indirect land use changes

Grant number: 11/11808-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2011
Effective date (End): March 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Economics - Agrarian and Natural Resource Economics
Principal Investigator:Ricardo Abramovay
Grantee:Rafael Feltran Barbieri
Home Institution: Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade (FEA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:08/58107-7 - Socio-economic impacts of climate change in Brazil: quantitative inputs for the design of public policies, AP.PFPMCG.TEM

Abstract

Biofuels based on agricultural commodities have recently lost support of several institutions and eminent researchers, not only because these renewable resources have presumably very limited potential to substitute oil. Encouragement has even harmed since the race to grow oleaginous and sugar crops signalized worrisome reverberations on landscape mosaics, food markets and working conditions. However, insofar as the controversial debate was been more exacerbated, the improvement of degraded and underproductive lands came up as a strategic alternative to temper these major problems. Marginal areas could accommodate agroenergetic expansion without increasing food prices or suppressing natural ecosystems, and should provide better opportunities for rural people engaging small farmers and peasants on production chain. Therefore, due to converges large ethanol successful experiences and be one of the greatest depositories of marginal lands, Brazil has lead international bets to become the most important "friendly biofuel" supplier for the global economy. The Brazilian Ethanol Sector itself, reinforced by government agencies, is basing on the same premise to justify sugarcane expansion. The main argument is that despite the country responds for no less than 40% of global ethanol production, sugarcane plantations currently cover only 1% of Brazilian territory, i.e. 7.8 million hectares. However, there is a clear shortage of researches, and controversial results. This project aims to converge. Global Information Systems (SIG) and simple Econometrics tools to test if on fact ethanol expansion is occurring on degraded and marginal pastures, trying to measure in quantitative terms direct and indirect land use. This project will be included on Thematic Project "Socio-Economic Impacts of Climate Change in Brazil: quantitative inputs for the design of public policies" process 2008/58107-7 (AU)