In three decades, changes in land cover in the Caatinga area have raised awareness of the risk of desertification in the Paraíba region. Between 1985 and 2020, 3% of all native vegetation in the caatinga was lost, around 300 thousand hectares.
Of this amount, – most of them – 280 thousand hectares were lost in areas susceptible to desertification (ASD), involving 45 municipalities in Paraíba. This diagnosis was presented by MapBiomas on Tuesday (5), based on analyzes of satellite images taken over the last three decades.
Other factors also contribute to this desertification scenario, such as the loss of water surface in the Caatinga, which has become drier in the last 36 years.
The Caatinga also recorded an 8.27% drop in water surface and a 40% reduction in natural water – which refers to water courses, most of which is retained in hydroelectric plants and reservoirs, 42.69% and 29 .61%, respectively. In 2017, the smallest extension of water was recorded, 629,483 hectares, compared to the average surface of water existing in the Caatinga between 1985 and 2020, of 922 thousand hectares. There was also a loss of 10% of natural areas.
::Area occupied by agriculture in the Caatinga grows 1456% in 36 years; pastures have a 48% jump:
All of this is associated with the reduction in the areas of natural vegetation cover, around 15 million hectares, which represents a 26.36% retraction of the vegetation. Of the 10 municipalities that lost most natural vegetation in the Caatinga between 1985 and 2020, eight are in Bahia.
On the other hand, the agricultural exploration area grew by 11.26 million hectares, which now accounted for 35.2% of the Caatinga area in 2020. The total native vegetation of the Caatinga (ie, the sum of the areas occupied by savannah, grassland and forest) occupied 63% of the biome, accounting for 9.8% of the native vegetation in Brazil.
According to the survey, 112 municipalities in the country with a situation considered “serious” or “very serious”.
“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 ”, declared Prof. Washington Rocha, UEFS and Mapbiomas.
Desertification in Paraíba
The municipality of Caturité (PB) presents a 40% loss of natural vegetation, associated with a 51.8% decrease in the water surface and an average of 26 hectares of burned area per year between 1985 and 2020.
The municipality of São José da Lagoa Tapada (PB) has a 16% loss of natural vegetation and a 28% decrease in the water surface, with an average of 411 hectares of burned area per year between 1985 and 2020.
“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.
Source: BoF Paraíba
Edition: Heloisa de Sousa