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Optimizing space for biodiversity and agriculture based on a landscape ecology-approach

Grant number: 18/20691-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2019
Effective date (End): September 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Marco Aurelio Pizo Ferreira
Grantee:Vinicius Rodrigues Tonetti
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Loss and fragmentation of natural habitats for the expansion of agricultural areas have major importance to the biodiversity crisis. Slowing or even ceasing the expansion of agriculture is a fundamental step to decrease its damaging effects. Optimizing space for the conservation of biodiversity guaranteeing food sovereignty as well as the production of agricultural products are urgent as most of agricultural methods have focused on increasing production only, usually to the detriment of socio-environment matters. In this project we aim to generate knowledge that could guide to a scenario where both agricultural and biodiversity benefits. To do this, we will base our research on a landscape ecology-approach and we intend to answer the three main questions which will compose the three articles: (1) Does landscape heterogeneity really matter for biodiversity? Here we aim to evaluate how different levels of spatial heterogeneity can increase biodiversity without reducing areas to agriculture based on a multi-taxa approach. (2) Are there yield gaps in a biodiversity hots-pot? In order to spare land to biodiversity, initiatives to identify under-yielding agricultural landscapes where crop production could be increased to give space for biodiversity can be effective in species conservation and ecosystem process. (3) How can natural regeneration driven by the movement of frugivorous fauna affect the abundance of vertebrate species? As tropical forests are naturally regenerating worldwide, understanding how this process influence the abundance of forest species is essential to select priority areas for conservation. To develop this project, we will use a large dataset which comprises data on abundance of species in the Atlantic Forest, a highly fragmented tropical biodiversity hotspot.