Area occupied by agriculture in the Caatinga grows 1456% in 36

The areas occupied by agriculture in the Caatinga expanded by 1.456% in the country between 1985 and 2020, according to a survey released this Wednesday (6) by MapBiomas. The researchers point to an increase of 1.33 million hectares in the occupation of the activity within the biome.

Obtained by satellite monitoring, the data show that Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte and Bahia correspond to 64.5% of the verified variation. Together, the three states registered an increase of 1.094 million hectares.

According to the coordinator of the Caatinga team at MapBiomas, Washington Franca Rocha, the monitoring system basically detects large-scale agriculture in the country, generally more associated with large estates.

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“They can even be diversified [em termos de produção], but they are large areas. They are certainly not family farms or small properties”, observes the researcher.

Another striking fact of the research concerns the vertiginous growth of the pasture area, which registered a 48% jump between 1985 and 2020. There are 6.5 million hectares more in this interval, with more than 4.6 million of them in the states of Bahia , Ceará and Pernambuco.

In 1985, pastures occupied 15.6% of the Caatinga. In 2020, the index was 23.1%. According to Rocha, the data intersects with yet another harsh reality: the lack of a public policy aimed at the biome’s conservation units.

“We are talking about a single biome that is exclusively Brazilian and that contains a very large and little-known biodiversity, so what we have is the fear of uncontrolled exploitation, not allowing the proper protection of reserves and maintaining the integrity of the biome ”.

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Desertification risk

Other numbers also surfaced in the survey. The risk of desertification in parts of the Caatinga is one of the factors expressed in the survey, according to which 112 municipalities in the country with a situation considered “serious” or “very serious” lose 0.3 million hectares of native vegetation.

Most of them – 0.28 million – were observed in 45 municipalities in Paraíba that are considered areas susceptible to desertification (ASD). The Caatinga also registered, over the 36 years evaluated in the survey, an 8.27% drop in the water surface and a 40% reduction in natural water. There was also a loss of 10% of natural areas.

“With all this, a yellow light comes on. Greater attention is needed from environmental management bodies, non-governmental organizations and all sectors of society that are aware of these threats”, concludes the coordinator of the MapBiomas Caatinga team.

Edition: Vivian Virissimo

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