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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Agricultural land use dynamics in the Brazilian part of La Plata Basin: From driving forces to societal responses

Schlindwein, Sandro Luis; de Vasconcelos, Ana Carolina Feitosa; Bonatti, Michelle; Sieber, Stefan; Strapasson, Alexandre; Lana, Marcos


This paper provides an analysis of the land use dynamics observed in the Brazilian part of La Plata Basin (BRLPB) from 1988 to 2018, including major crops such as maize, soybean, wheat, and sugarcane. It also assesses the perception of farmers and other stakeholders on climate change effects and the design of adaptation strategies. Two case studies were carried out and the DPSIR (Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response) conceptual framework was used to structure the complex relationships driving current land use dynamics in BR-LPB. The first case was an assessment of land use change based on the cultivated area of annual and semi-perennial crops over the whole BR-LPB, using macro-spatial data from 1988 to 2018. The second case consisted of a survey carried out in the municipality of Anchieta to assess at local level if land use change has been driven by the perception of farmers on climate change and its effects. When contrasted with changes on average annual temperature and precipitation for the same time period, the results show that land use dynamics in the BR-LPB as a whole was mostly driven by an increased global demand for food commodities rather than by climate effects, whereas at local level the perception of farmers on climate change effects has already influenced the adoption of adaptation strategies. No evidences were found that climate dynamics has significantly influenced the geography of agricultural land use in the BR-LPB in this period. While using the DPSIR framework, the results of both case studies highlight important inter-relationships allowing a comprehensive overview on how land use change in the BR-LPB is related to some major drivers (e.g. population growth, growing demand of agricultural products, and droughts) and how they might influence the design of purposeful adaptation responses and policy making.


La Plata Basin; Land use change; DPSIR framework; Climate change effects

Published in

Land Use Policy
2021, volume: 107, article number: 105519

Authors' information

Schlindwein, Sandro Luis
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC)
Feitosa de Vasconcelos, Ana Carolina
Federal University of Campina Grande
Bonatti, Michelle
Humboldt University of Berlin
Sieber, Stefan
Humboldt University of Berlin
Strapasson, Alexandre
Imperial College London
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG13 Climate action
SDG2 Zero hunger

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