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Actions and opinions of Brazilian farmers who shift to sugarcane: an interview-based assessment with discussion of implications for land-use change
Division of Physical Resource Theory, Department of Energy and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden.
Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE), Campinas, Brazil.
Division of Physical Resource Theory, Department of Energy and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden.
Division of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Department of Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
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2016 (English)In: Land use policy, ISSN 0264-8377, E-ISSN 1873-5754, Vol. 57, 594-604 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sugarcane ethanol systems can deliver large greenhouse gas emissions savings if emissions associated with land-use change are kept low. This qualitative study documents and analyzes actions and opinions among Brazilian farmers who shift to sugarcane production. Semi-structured interviews were held with 28 actors associated with sugarcane production in three different regions: one traditional sugarcane region and two regions where sugarcane is currently expanding. Most farmers considered sugarcane a land diversification option with relatively low economic risk, although higher risk than their previous land use. Beef production was considered a low-risk option, but less profitable than sugarcane. In conjunction with converting part of their land to sugarcane, most farmers maintained and further intensified their previous agricultural activity, often beef production. Several farmers invested in expanded production in other regions with relatively low land prices. Very few farmers in the expansion regions shifted all their land from the former, less profitable, use to sugarcane. Very few farmers in this study had deforested any land in connection with changes made when shifting to sugarcane. The respondents understand “environmental friendliness” as compliance with the relevant legislation, especially the Brazilian Forest Act, which is also a requirement for delivering sugarcane to the mills. Indirect land-use change is not a concern for the interviewed farmers, and conversion of forests and other native vegetation into sugarcane plantations is uncontroversial if legal. We derive hypotheses regarding farmers’ actions and opinions from our results. These hypotheses aim to contribute to better understanding of what takes place in conjunction with expansion of sugarcane and can, when tested further, be of use in developing, e.g., policies for iLUC-free biofuel production.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kidlington: Pergamon Press, 2016. Vol. 57, 594-604 p.
Keyword [en]
Beef, Brazil, Deforestation, iLUC policy, Pasture intensification, Rural farmers
National Category
Agricultural Science, Forestry and Fisheries
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-32344DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.06.022ISI: 000382341200053Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84976440497OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-32344DiVA: diva2:1043818
Available from: 2016-11-01 Created: 2016-11-01 Last updated: 2016-11-01Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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