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Title: Pasture clearing from invasive woody plants in the Pantanal: A tool for sustainable management or environmental destruction?
Authors: Junk, Wolfgang Johannes
Nunes da Cunha, C.
Keywords: Biodiversity
Biological Invasion
Economic Development
Environmental Protection
Grazing Pressure
Human Activity
Pristine Environment
Woody Plant
Issue Date: 2012
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Wetlands Ecology and Management
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 20, Número 2, Pags. 111-122
Abstract: With a total area of 160,000 km 2, the Pantanal is one of the largest wetlands in South America and certainly the most famous. It is essential for the maintenance of biodiversity and is highly ranked in national and international protection plans. The ecology of the Pantanal is influenced by the annual inundation, frequent fires during the dry period, and multiple human activities. To maintain traditional low density cattle ranching, which is the economic basis for the Pantanal's human population, the spread of woody vegetation into former pasture areas requires pasture clearing. Legal restrictions, however, have led to the confusion of pasture clearing with the illegal deforestation that has accompanied Brazil's rapid economic development, thus creating serious conflicts between the Pantanal's ranchers and the governmental environmental agency. This dichotomy of interests, i. e., the need to maintain habitat and species diversity while guaranteeing the livelihoods of the ranchers but warding off deforestation, can only be resolved through modern management plans that reconcile the requirements of environmental protection with the economic needs of the ranchers, who are the owners of most of the Pantanal. The key to any such plan's successful implementation is to consider the Pantanal not as a pristine wetland, but as a valuable cultural landscape. Over the last two and a half centuries, the vegetation in large parts of the Pantanal has been altered due to the presence of cattle ranches. This has maintained its habitat diversity and multiple services to humans and to the environment, including the enhancement of species diversity. This management practice corresponds to modern approaches in other parts of the world, where low density animal grazing, sometimes in combination with mechanical removal of woody vegetation are considered powerful management tools for the maintenance of valuable cultural landscapes. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1007/s11273-011-9246-y
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