Monitoring land use changes around the indigenous lands of the xingu basin in mato grosso, brazil

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  • Publié le : 13 avril 2011
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Damien Arvor (1), Margareth Simões Penello Meirelles (2,3), Rafaela Vargas (4), Ladislau Araújo Skorupa (2), Elaine Cristina Cardoso Fidalgo(2), Vincent Dubreuil (1), Isabelle Herlin (5), Jean-Paul Berroir (5) (1) COSTEL UMR CNRS 6554 LETG - IFR 90 CAREN, Université Rennes 2 : Embrapa Solos/Embrapa Meio Ambiente (3) Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro - UERJ (4) IHEAL, Institut des Hautes Études de l’Amérique Latine, Université de Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle (5) Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique. 1. INTRODUCTION The State of Mato Grosso (906000 km²), located in the southern region of the Brazilian Amazon, is composed of three mainbiomas (rainforest, Savanna or “cerrado” and Pantanal), all considered for their biodiversity. However, Mato Grosso is suffering devastating land use changes. According to the INPE (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais), 40% of the Amazonian deforestation during the 1992-2005 years took place in the State of Mato Grosso, i. e. 104,076 km². These land use changes have been partly explained bythe expansion of pasture and mechanized agriculture, primarily based on soybean crops [1]. In order to limit the deforestation in Amazonia and the cerrado, the Federal government created reserved areas like national parks and indigenous lands (about 31.1% of the Brazilian Amazonia, i. e. 1,318,329 km², are actually protected while this rate is only 2.2% in the cerrado). These lands may beconsidered to be protected areas for environmental conservation or for the preservation of traditional (mainly indigenous) communities. The main issue regarding the administrative situation of such protected areas consists in understanding how societies affect and are affected by land use changes inside and outside such areas. First, we need to determine if it is more efficient to protect the nativevegetation by creating uninhabited areas or areas inhabited by “traditional” populations [2], [3]. Second, we need to determine how land use changes observed outside protected areas may cause further difficulties for the traditional populations therein that suffer new constraints and limitations for sustaining themselves. Remote sensing techniques can bring new elements to bear on these issues. Theobjective of this paper is to study the evolution of land use changes on the surrounding areas of the indigenous lands of the Xingu basin, in Mato Grosso. 2. STUDY AREA, DATA USED AND METHOD 2.1. Study area The Xingu basin (fig. 1) in Mato Grosso represents an area of 17,732,544 hectares where 14 indigenous lands have been established comprising a total area of 4,220,494 hectares, i. e. 23.8% of thebasin’s area. A population

of 23,000 Amerindians inhabits these indigenous lands. This culturally diverse population speaks no less than 15 different indigenous languages. The biggest indigenous area of the basin is the Xingu Indigenous Land (formerly the Xingu National Park, 2,648,126 ha), which was founded in 1961. This area is located on both sides of the Xingu River, a tributary of theAmazon River. However, all the headwaters of the Xingu River are located outside the indigenous lands and are now affected by the land use changes occurring in their surroundings. The progression of the agricultural frontier along the western and eastern borders of the Xingu indigenous land is affecting water quality in the basin. This is an important socio-environmental problem because of thepresence of indigenous communities in the Upper Xingu whose diet is based mainly on fish consumption. Some indigenous villages in the borders of the Xingu Indigenous Land have systematically resorted to drinking water from wells because of the pollution of river waters by agro-toxic substances used in crops like soy. Another recent impact on the indigenous lands was the construction of dam outside the...
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