Perception of Farmers on Reforestation of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest - The case from the Alto Paranapanema Watershed
Ramos Nardy, Julia
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The Brazilian Atlantic Forest (BAF) is an ecological hotspot, and nowadays only 11,4% to 16% of the native vegetation is left, in which most of its remaining forest patches are small and disconnected from each other. Of the native vegetation left, 64% is within rural private properties, that are mainly used for agriculture – a key economic sector for Brazil’s GDP. This entails that rural property owners are key actors to ensuring the connectivity of the remaining forest patches of the BAF through forest conservation, preservation, and restoration – necessary measures to ensure that the extinction threshold of this forest is not surpassed. To further understand what the possible drivers and barriers for these actors to ensure the forest perpetuity are, it is important to assess what are their perceptions (shaped by socio-economic factors) on reforestation. To assess this, this study focused on the Alto Paranapanema watershed, located in the southeast of the state of São Paulo, in the southeast of Brazil. This watershed is a multi-functional landscape with forests, agriculture, industries, and people. 381 farmers from the watershed participated on a survey developed by the author, in which the answers were assessed by means of a quantitative analysis. Findings suggest that the watershed accounts for three different clusters of farmers, in which they differ due to their different socio-economic characteristics and perceptions. Nonetheless, they also have common perceptions and characteristics and overall, they understand the benefits of having forests – both for their personal lives, and for their farming practices. Nevertheless, they would be more willing to reforest and maintain forests within their properties if they were to be compensated by market strategies, or if they were to receive the benefits entailed in the Forest Act.