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    Linking land-use and land-cover transitions to their ecological impact in the Amazon

    Nunes, Cássio Alencar, Berenguer, Erika, França, Filipe, Ferreira, Joice, Lees, Alexander C, Louzada, Julio, Sayer, Emma J, Solar, Ricardo, Smith, Charlotte C, Aragão, Luiz EOC, Braga, Danielle de Lima, de Camargo, Plinio Barbosa, Cerri, Carlos Eduardo Pellegrino, de Oliveira, Raimundo Cosme, Durigan, Mariana, Moura, Nárgila, Oliveira, Victor Hugo Fonseca, Ribas, Carla, Vaz-de-Mello, Fernando, Vieira, Ima, Zanetti, Ronald and Barlow, Jos (2022) Linking land-use and land-cover transitions to their ecological impact in the Amazon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119 (27). e2202310119. ISSN 0027-8424

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    Abstract

    Human activities pose a major threat to tropical forest biodiversity and ecosystem services. Although the impacts of deforestation are well studied, multiple land-use and land-cover transitions (LULCTs) occur in tropical landscapes, and we do not know how LULCTs differ in their rates or impacts on key ecosystem components. Here, we quantified the impacts of 18 LULCTs on three ecosystem components (biodiversity, carbon, and soil), based on 18 variables collected from 310 sites in the Brazilian Amazon. Across all LULCTs, biodiversity was the most affected ecosystem component, followed by carbon stocks, but the magnitude of change differed widely among LULCTs and individual variables. Forest clearance for pasture was the most prevalent and high-impact transition, but we also identified other LULCTs with high impact but lower prevalence (e.g., forest to agriculture). Our study demonstrates the importance of considering multiple ecosystem components and LULCTs to understand the consequences of human activities in tropical landscapes.

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