For publications earlier than 2019, view our publications archive.
| Vale, Petterson; Gibbs, Holly; Vale, Ricardo; Christie, Matthew; Florence, Eduardo; Munger, Jacob; Sabaini, Derquiane: The Expansion of Intensive Beef Farming to the Brazilian Amazon. In: Global Environmental Change, vol. 57, pp. 101922, 2019, ISSN: 0959-3780. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Systems of intensive animal farming, such as the confinement of beef cattle, are widespread in the developed world. Such practices have been under scrutiny since the 1960s for animal welfare and pollution issues. Here, we document the expansion of intensive beef farming to the Brazilian Amazon in order to assess socio-environmental implications. Using a combination of data mining and field surveys, we developed a georeferenced dataset of 201 cattle confinements in the states of Mato Grosso (Cerrado and Amazon biomes), Pará and Rondônia (Amazon biome), collected in 2017. In Mato Grosso, the country’s agribusiness powerhouse, confinements are well established and account for ˜20% of the cattle slaughter. But rapid expansion in Pará and Rondônia remains largely unnoticed due to the absence of data since 2012. We used the new dataset to map cattle confinements across space and time. For the first time, (1) we document an expansion to the Amazon biome; (2) we also show that confinements are associated with substantially higher productivity rates, though intensified pasture-based systems can reach comparable yields; (3) that confinements have crop production levels 2-3 times higher than comparable properties, both in- and out-of-farm; and (4) that confinements tend to slow down on-property deforestation when compared to fattening ranches in the Amazon biome, although off-property effects could be substantial and need further study. Overall, the implications of intensive beef farming for animal welfare and local waste generation in Brazil require attention as pressure to avoid deforestation continues to stimulate the practice.
| Garrett, R. D.; Levy, S.; Carlson, K. M.; Gardner, T. A.; Godar, J.; Clapp, J.; Dauvergne, P.; Heilmayr, R.; Waroux, Y.; Ayre, B.; Barr, R.; Døvre, B.; Gibbs, H. K.; Hall, S.; Lake, S.; Milder, J. C.; Rausch, L. L.; Rivero, R.; Rueda, X.; Sarsfield, R.; Soares-Filho, B.; Villoria, N.: Criteria for effective zero-deforestation commitments. In: Global Environmental Change, vol. 54, pp. 135-147, 2019, ISSN: 0959-3780. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Zero-deforestation commitments are a type of voluntary sustainability initiative that companies adopt to signal their intention to reduce or eliminate deforestation associated with commodities that they produce, trade, and/or sell. Because each company defines its own zero-deforestation commitment goals and implementation mechanisms, commitment content varies widely. This creates challenges for the assessment of commitment implementation or effectiveness. Here, we develop criteria to assess the potential effectiveness of zero-deforestation commitments at reducing deforestation within a company supply chain, regionally, and globally. We apply these criteria to evaluate 52 zero-deforestation commitments made by companies identified by Forest 500 as having high deforestation risk. While our assessment indicates that existing commitments converge with several criteria for effectiveness, they fall short in a few key ways. First, they cover just a small share of the global market for deforestation-risk commodities, which means that their global impact is likely to be small. Second, biome-wide implementation is only achieved in the Brazilian Amazon. Outside this region, implementation occurs mainly through certification programs, which are not adopted by all producers and lack third-party near-real time deforestation monitoring. Additionally, around half of all commitments include zero-net deforestation targets and future implementation deadlines, both of which are design elements that may reduce effectiveness. Zero-net targets allow promises of future reforestation to compensate for current forest loss, while future implementation deadlines allow for preemptive clearing. To increase the likelihood that commitments will lead to reduced deforestation across all scales, more companies should adopt zero-gross deforestation targets with immediate implementation deadlines and clear sanction-based implementation mechanisms in biomes with high risk of forest to commodity conversion.
| Lima, Mendelson; Junior, Carlos Antonio Silva; Rausch, Lisa; Gibbs, Holly K.; Johann, Jerry Adriani: Demystifying sustainable soy in Brazil. In: Land Use Policy, vol. 82, pp. 349-352, 2019, ISSN: 0264-8377. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Brazil is the second largest soybean producer in the world with a planted area in the crop year 2017/18 of 33.347 million hectares, distributed in the Pampa, Atlantic Forest, Cerrado, and Amazon biomes. Through remote sensing techniques we show that the new agricultural frontier of soy is no longer in the Amazon, but in the last continuous areas of Cerrado, present in the region known as MATOPIBA. The soybean production chain has been striving to present to its overseas customers a soy produced in a sustainable way, without the removal of forests. Our data challenge its main program, the Amazonian Soy Moratorium, and we call attention to the conservation need of the MATOPIBA Cerrado, which is not monitored by Soy Moratorium.
| Buckley, Kristy J.; Newton, Peter; Gibbs, Holly K.; McConnel, Ian; Ehrmann, John: Pursuing sustainability through multi-stakeholder collaboration: A description of the governance, actions, and perceived impacts of the roundtables for sustainable beef. In: World Development, vol. 121, pp. 203-217, 2019, ISSN: 0305-750X. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Roundtables for sustainable beef have evolved in national contexts as well as at the global level as a multi-stakeholder process to address sustainability concerns in the cattle sector. However, due to their relatively recent inception, the literature on the beef roundtables is extremely limited and very little scholarly work has traced their process or impact. We used semi-structured interviews with key informants to examine the governance, actions, and potential impacts of the roundtables for sustainable beef, and identified opportunities and challenges for achieving greater sustainability impact. We found that the beef roundtables are in different stages of development and implementation and that they have diverse approaches based on their geographic contexts. However, they have universally adopted a model of sector-wide continuous improvement, in contrast to roundtables for other commodities, which have in many cases adopted formal certification programs. Activities by the roundtables for sustainable beef have variously included working towards definitions of sustainable beef; setting sustainability principles and criteria; and creating working groups to address specific aspects of sustainability (e.g., verification, deforestation). Our interviews identified opportunities to expand the roundtables’ roles, activities, and sustainability impacts. This study provides a benchmark of the roundtables’ efforts to date, and generates hypotheses and ideas for how they could evolve in the future.
| Vale, Petterson; Gibbs, Holly; Vale, Ricardo; Munger, J.; Junior, Amintas Brandão; Christie, Matthew; Florence, Eduardo: Mapping the cattle industry in Brazil’s most dynamic cattle-ranching state: Slaughterhouses in Mato Grosso, 1967-2016. In: PLOS ONE, vol. 14, pp. e0215286, 2019. (Type: Journal Article | )|
| Sippy, Rachel; Herrera, Diego F; Gaus, David; Gangnon, Ronald E.; Patz, Jonathan A.; Osorio, Jorge E: Seasonal patterns of dengue fever in rural Ecuador: 2009-2016. In: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 13, 2019. (Type: Journal Article | )|
| Stull, Valerie J; Kersten, Marjorie; Bergmans, Rachel S; Patz, Jonathan A; Paskewitz, Susan: Crude Protein, Amino Acid, and Iron Content of Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae) Reared on an Agricultural Byproduct from Maize Production: An Exploratory Study. In: Annals of the Entomological Society of America, vol. 112, no. 6, pp. 533-543, 2019, ISSN: 0013-8746. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Edible insects offer environmental and nutritional benefits, as they are characteristically nutrient-dense, are efficient biotransformers of organic material, and emit fewer greenhouse gasses than traditional livestock. Cultivating Tenebrio molitor (yellow mealworm) as ‘minilivestock’ is one possible means of increasing access to insect protein for food insecure populations. Tenebrio molitor growth and nutrient content varies with diet and rearing conditions, but little is known about the precise impact of poor quality feedstocks, such as maize crop residue (stover). Stover is widely available across sub-Saharan Africa where maize is a common dietary staple. Early instar larvae were reared under controlled conditions on three feed substrates: a standard control; a mixed soy, maize grain, and stover diet; and a 100% stover diet. Larvae reared for 32 d were analyzed for total amino acid profile, crude protein, and iron content. Larvae fed the three diets contained all essential amino acids for human nutrition and compared favorably to other traditional protein sources. The mixed diet contained 40% stover by weight and yielded amino acid values similar to the control diet, suggesting that some grain feedstock could be replaced with stover without hampering nutrient content. A second experiment demonstrated that T. molitor were able to complete metamorphosis and survive on a 100% stover diet for multiple generations. These results suggest that stover could be a suitable dietary component for T. molitor, which could facilitate the development of low-cost insect farming systems in low-resource settings that stand to benefit from increased access nutrient-dense edible insects.
| Grabow, Maggie L.; Bernardinello, Milena; Bersch, Andrew J.; Engelman, Corinne D.; Martinez-Donate, Ana; Patz, Jonathan A.; Peppard, Paul E.; Malecki, Kristen M. C.: What moves us: Subjective and objective predictors of active transportation. In: Journal of Transport & Health, vol. 15, pp. 100625, 2019, ISSN: 2214-1405. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
The majority of commuting trips in the United States are taken by motor vehicle. Yet, lack of regular physical activity has been identified as one of its most significant public health issues, and globally, risks due to physical inactivity are increasing. However, we believe current studies offer an unclear picture of the complex role of the environmental or psychological influences in active travel behavior across urbanicity classifications.
| Edwards, David P.; Socolar, Jacob B.; Mills, Simon C.; Burivalova, Zuzana; Koh, Lian Pin; Wilcove, David S.: Conservation of Tropical Forests in the Anthropocene. In: Current Biology, vol. 29, no. 19, pp. R1008-R1020, 2019, ISSN: 0960-9822. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
If current trends continue, the tropical forests of the Anthropocene will be much smaller, simpler, steeper and emptier than they are today. They will be more diminished in size and heavily fragmented (especially in lowland wet forests), have reduced structural and species complexity, be increasingly restricted to steeper, less accessible areas, and be missing many heavily hunted species. These changes, in turn, will greatly reduce the quality and quantity of ecosystem services that tropical forests can provide. Driving these changes will be continued clearance for farming and monoculture forest plantations, unsustainable selective logging, overhunting, and, increasingly, climate change. Concerted action by local and indigenous communities, environmental groups, governments, and corporations can reverse these trends and, if successful, provide future generations with a tropical forest estate that includes a network of primary forest reserves robustly defended from threats, recovering logged and secondary forests, and resilient community forests managed for the needs of local people. Realizing this better future for tropical forests and people will require formalisation of land tenure for local and indigenous communities, better-enforced environmental laws, the widescale roll-out of payments for ecosystem service schemes, and sustainable intensification of under-yielding farmland, as well as global-scale societal changes, including reduced consumerism, meat consumption, fossil fuel reliance, and population growth. But the time to act is now, while the opportunity remains to protect a semblance of intact, hyperdiverse tropical forests.
| Griscom, Bronson W.; Ellis, Peter W.; Burivalova, Zuzana; Halperin, James; Marthinus, Delon; Runting, Rebecca K.; Ruslandi,; Shoch, David; Putz, Francis E.: Reduced-impact logging in Borneo to minimize carbon emissions and impacts on sensitive habitats while maintaining timber yields. In: Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 438, pp. 176-185, 2019, ISSN: 0378-1127. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
We define two implementation levels for reduced-impact logging for climate mitigation (RIL-C) practices for felling, skidding, and hauling in dipterocarp forest concessions of East and North Kalimantan. Each implementation level reduces logging emissions by a consistent proportion below the business-as-usual emissions baseline, which varies with harvest intensity. Level 1 reflects the best recorded emissions performance for each type of practice. Level 2 is more ambitious but feasible based on workshop feedback from concession managers and forestry experts, and confirmed by a recent demonstration. At Level 1 emissions can be reduced by 33%, avoiding emissions of 64.9 ± 22.2 MgCO2 per ha harvested, on average. At Level 2 emissions can be reduced by 46%, avoiding 88.6 ± 22.7 MgCO2 ha−1. The greatest emissions reductions derive from (i) not felling trees that will be left in the forest due to commercial defects, and (ii) use of long-line cable winching to avoid bulldozer impacts. We also quantify the potential to avoid logging steep slopes and riparian habitats, while holding to our RIL-C accounting assumption that timber yields are maintained to avoid problems of leakage and product substitution. Logging damage to riparian areas <50 m from perennial streams could be avoided by re-locating harvests to less sensitive areas that currently are not accessed due to lack of spatial planning. In all but the steepest concessions, all slopes >40% could similarly be avoided. The combined areas of these sensitive habitats (steep slopes and riparian buffers) represented 16% of each cutting block on average. Implementation of RIL-C practices would deliver 8% (Level 1) and 11% (Level 2) of Indonesia’s pledged reductions to their forest reference emissions level as a nationally determined contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement. In concert with RIL-C practices, 30% of logging concession areas could be permanently protected from logging and conversion to minimize impacts on biodiversity, soils, and water quality, thereby expanding Indonesia’s protected areas by one third and achieving 93% of Indonesia’s Aichi Target 11 (the effective conservation of at least 17% of lands). Both these Paris Climate Agreement and Aichi outcomes could be delivered with no reductions in timber yields and substantial improvements in worker safety and sustainability of the natural forest timber sector.
| Runting, Rebecca K.; Ruslandi,; Griscom, Bronson W.; Struebig, Matthew J.; Satar, Musnanda; Meijaard, Erik; Burivalova, Zuzana; Cheyne, Susan M.; Deere, Nicolas J.; Game, Edward T.; Putz, F. E.; Wells, Jessie A.; Wilting, Andreas; Ancrenaz, Marc; Ellis, Peter; Khan, Faisal A. A.; Leavitt, Sara M.; Marshall, Andrew J.; Possingham, Hugh P.; Watson, James E. M.; Venter, Oscar: Larger gains from improved management over sparing--sharing for tropical forests. In: Nature Sustainability, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 53-61, 2019, ISSN: 2398-9629. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Tropical forests are globally important for both biodiversity conservation and the production of economically valuable wood products. To deliver both simultaneously, two contrasting approaches have been suggested: one partitions forests (sparing); the other integrates both objectives in the same location (sharing). To date, the `sparing or sharing' debate has focused on agricultural landscapes, with scant attention paid to forest management. We explore the delivery of biodiversity and wood products in a continuum of sparing-to-sharing scenarios, using spatial optimization with set economic returns in East Kalimantan, Indonesia---a biodiversity hotspot. We found that neither sparing nor sharing extremes are optimal, although the greatest conservation value was attained towards the sparing end of the continuum. Critically, improved management strategies, such as reduced-impact logging, provided larger conservation gains than altering the balance between sparing and sharing, particularly for endangered species. Ultimately, debating sparing versus sharing has limited value while larger gains remain from improving forest management.
| Burivalova, Zuzana; Allnutt, Thomas F.; Rademacher, Dan; Schlemm, Annika; Wilcove, David S.; Butler, Rhett A.: What works in tropical forest conservation, and what does not: Effectiveness of four strategies in terms of environmental, social, and economic outcomes. In: Conservation Science and Practice, vol. 1, no. 6, pp. e28, 2019. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Tropical forests and their biodiversity are disappearing, despite decades of conservation efforts. Are we now in a position to understand whether some conservation strategies work better while others consistently fail in protecting tropical forests? We searched the literature to evaluate four mainstream strategies (forest certification and reduced impact logging, payments for ecosystem services, protected areas, community forest management) in terms of 35 environmental, social, and economic metrics. We evaluated whether applying the strategy improved, left unchanged, or worsened the conservation metrics and we created an interactive platform to view the data. We concluded that (a) the scientific literature on the effectiveness of conservation strategies in tropical forests is still vastly inadequate, due to poor design, lack of scope, and too few examples; (b) the effects of conservation on biodiversity and the economic outcomes of conservation are particularly understudied; and (c) all strategies fail at least some of the times, but all of them succeed at least some times. Our recommendation is that each new instance of implementing a given strategy should consider in detail, at the very least, the negative evidence on the given strategy, in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes. We introduce an interactive, dynamic platform to host various types of conservation effectiveness evidence.
| Burivalova, Zuzana; Purnomo,; Wahyudi, Bambang; Boucher, Timothy M.; Ellis, Peter; Truskinger, Anthony; Towsey, Michael; Roe, Paul; Marthinus, Delon; Griscom, Bronson; Game, Edward T.: Using soundscapes to investigate homogenization of tropical forest diversity in selectively logged forests. In: Journal of Applied Ecology, vol. 56, no. 11, pp. 2493-2504, 2019. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Abstract Selective logging in tropical forests changes the local number of animal species (alpha diversity), but it also likely affects species turnover (beta diversity). Whilst such changes are documented in many ecosystems under different disturbances, they are poorly understood in selectively logged tropical forests. By using soundscape recordings across broad spatial scales, we measured soundscape saturation and dissimilarity of pairs of soundscapes, as a proxy of alpha and beta diversity, respectively, in selectively logged and protected tropical forest in Indonesian Borneo. Soundscapes of selectively logged forests were more homogeneous than the soundscapes of never logged forest, and that soundscape saturation of protected forest was higher during the day and lower at night in comparison with selective logging concessions. Synthesis and applications. Selectively logged forests act as an important reservoir of biodiversity. Optimizing such production forests for biodiversity conservation requires the consideration of the total continuous area that is assigned to selective logging, and spatial arrangement of annual cutting blocks, as these could affect beta diversity and its recovery.
| Burivalova, Zuzana; Game, Edward T.; Butler, Rhett A.: The sound of a tropical forest. In: Science, vol. 363, no. 6422, pp. 28-29, 2019. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Recording of forest soundscapes can help monitor animal biodiversity for conservation Conservation areas around the world aim to help conserve animal biodiversity, but it is often difficult to measure conservation success without detailed on-the-ground surveys. High-resolution satellite imagery can be used to verify whether or not deforestation has occurred in areas dedicated for conservation (1). Such remote sensing analyses can reveal forest loss and, in some cases, severe forest degradation, such as through fragmentation and intensive selective logging, especially if it includes the construction of roads or camps. However, conservation benefit is determined not only by forest loss but also by the level of degradation in those forests left standing. Bioacoustics—specifically the recording and analysis of entire soundscapes—is an emerging tool with great promise for effectively monitoring animal biodiversity in tropical forests under various conservation schemes (2, 3).
| Salafsky, Nick; Boshoven, Judith; Burivalova, Zuzana; Dubois, Natalie S.; Gomez, Andres; Johnson, Arlyne; Lee, Aileen; Margoluis, Richard; Morrison, John; Muir, Matthew; Pratt, Stephen C.; Pullin, Andrew S.; Salzer, Daniel; Stewart, Annette; Sutherland, William J.; Wordley, Claire F. R.: Defining and using evidence in conservation practice. In: Conservation Science and Practice, vol. 1, no. 5, pp. e27, 2019. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
There is growing interest in evidence-based conservation, yet there are no widely accepted standard definitions of evidence, let alone guidance on how to use it in the context of conservation and natural resource management practice. In this paper, we first draw on insights of evidence-based practice from different disciplines to define evidence as being the “relevant information used to assess one or more hypotheses related to a question of interest.” We then construct a typology of different kinds of information, hypotheses, and evidence and show how these different types can be used in different steps of conservation practice. In particular, we distinguish between specific evidence used to assess project hypotheses and generic evidence used to assess generic hypotheses. We next build on this typology to develop a decision tree to support practitioners in how to appropriately use available specific and generic evidence in a given conservation situation. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of how to better promote and enable evidence-based conservation in both projects and across the discipline of conservation. Our hope is that by understanding and using evidence better, conservation can both become more effective and attract increased support from society.