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The role of agroforestry in restoring Brazil's Atlantic Forest: Opportunities and challenges for smallholder farmers

Shennan-Farpon, Y; Homewood, K; Mills, M; Souza, A; (2022) The role of agroforestry in restoring Brazil's Atlantic Forest: Opportunities and challenges for smallholder farmers. People and Nature 10.1002/pan3.10297. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Restoring the degraded Atlantic Forest is one of the biggest conservation challenges in Brazil. In a biome with high human presence, understanding the potential for restoration approaches, such as agroforestry, to provide benefits to smallholder farmers and biodiversity is essential in developing equitable restoration strategies. Smallholder or family farmers are essential to national food security, producing most fruit and vegetables consumed in Brazil. Their farms can also provide ecological stepping stones for biodiversity. To better understand their role in Atlantic Forest restoration, this study explores the use of agroforestry by smallholder farmers from the Movimento Sem Terra (MST), the Rural Landless Workers' Movement, in Pontal do Paranapanema. We use quantitative and qualitative data to assess farmer perceptions of the measures which support agroforestry farming, barriers to implementation and its impact on indicators of wellbeing. We find agroforestry farmers report significant benefits in 8 of 18 tested indicators. Attitudes to agroforestry are varied, but common themes emerge including the high value of tree cover for shade and cooling effects, and the difficulties in selling agroforestry products. Our results show lack of policy support and initial investment needs are the biggest constraints to agroforestry, but opportunity cost is not considered a large barrier. Tailored policies and financial measures are needed to integrate thousands of smallholder farmers into the Atlantic Forest restoration agenda, helping to reach biome restoration targets while supporting rural livelihoods and national food security. Further research is required into links between additional socio-economic and biogeographical variables and agroforestry uptake in the region.

Type: Article
Title: The role of agroforestry in restoring Brazil's Atlantic Forest: Opportunities and challenges for smallholder farmers
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/pan3.10297
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10297
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. People and Nature published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: agroforestry; Atlantic Forest; forest landscape restoration (FLR); rural livelihoods; smallholder farmers
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10142520
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