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A shady future for Brazilian agriculture? Obstacles to and opportunities for agroforestry as a sustainable alternative to current agricultural practices

Mindegaard, Asger LU (2019) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20191
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
As the negative environmental impacts of contemporary agriculture become still more evident and
widespread, the question of how to feed future generations while preserving the vital stability of the planet’s
environment is more urgent than ever. Major institutions are targeting the environmental sustainability of
agriculture, internationally as well as in Brazil. Brazil is one of the largest agricultural countries in the world
and also home to vast and vulnerable ecosystems of global importance such as the cerrado and the Amazon.
In this thesis, I investigate agroforestry as a more sustainable alternative to contemporary agricultural
practices in Brazil, seeking an answer to the question: what are the main obstacles to and... (More)
As the negative environmental impacts of contemporary agriculture become still more evident and
widespread, the question of how to feed future generations while preserving the vital stability of the planet’s
environment is more urgent than ever. Major institutions are targeting the environmental sustainability of
agriculture, internationally as well as in Brazil. Brazil is one of the largest agricultural countries in the world
and also home to vast and vulnerable ecosystems of global importance such as the cerrado and the Amazon.
In this thesis, I investigate agroforestry as a more sustainable alternative to contemporary agricultural
practices in Brazil, seeking an answer to the question: what are the main obstacles to and opportunities for
a wider adoption of agroforestry in Brazil? To answer this question, I synthesise the insights from 18
interviews with Brazilian agroforestry stakeholders and 57 literature sources on Brazilian agroforestry. The
result is two tables with 11 obstacles and 8 opportunities, suggesting factors hindering the proliferation of
agroforestry in Brazil and what potentially could stimulate it. I use the multi-level perspective (MLP) theory
to analyse the case of Brazilian agroforestry as a potential sustainability transition of Brazilian agriculture,
understanding agroforestry as a niche innovation challenging the socio-technical regime of agriculture in the
country. I conclude that several regime tensions and niche momenta are present in Brazilian agriculture,
interacting with the obstacles and opportunities to agroforestry that I identified. Although agroforestry
seems to be gaining grounds in Brazil, it is difficult to say anything conclusive about whether it will bring
about a sustainability transition in Brazilian agriculture. Transitions are rarely clear-cut nor well-defined and
furthermore they are often difficult to identify in real time. However, it seems probable that a transition
towards more sustainability will happen eventually, although the scope and pace is uncertain. Finally, it is
worth considering that production-side approaches, such as agroforestry, alone cannot guarantee future
food sufficiency. An increased focus on the impact of dietary behaviour and food waste must accompany a
more sustainable production. (Less)
Abstract (Portuguese)
Enquanto os impactos ambientais negativos da agricultura contemporânea ficam cada vez mais
evidentes e extensos, a pergunta de como alimentar gerações futuras e ao mesmo tempo preservar a
estabilidade vital do meio-ambiente se torna mais urgente do que nunca. Muitas instituições chaves estão
abordando a questão da sustentabilidade da agricultura, tanto internacionalmente quanto no Brasil. O Brasil
é um dos maiores países agrícolas do mundo e acolhe ecossistemas enormes e frágeis de importância global
como o cerrado e a Amazônia. Nesta dissertação, investigo a agrofloresta como uma alternativa mais
sustentável para as práticas agrícolas contemporâneas no Brasil, procurando responder à pergunta: quais
são os principais obstáculos e as... (More)
Enquanto os impactos ambientais negativos da agricultura contemporânea ficam cada vez mais
evidentes e extensos, a pergunta de como alimentar gerações futuras e ao mesmo tempo preservar a
estabilidade vital do meio-ambiente se torna mais urgente do que nunca. Muitas instituições chaves estão
abordando a questão da sustentabilidade da agricultura, tanto internacionalmente quanto no Brasil. O Brasil
é um dos maiores países agrícolas do mundo e acolhe ecossistemas enormes e frágeis de importância global
como o cerrado e a Amazônia. Nesta dissertação, investigo a agrofloresta como uma alternativa mais
sustentável para as práticas agrícolas contemporâneas no Brasil, procurando responder à pergunta: quais
são os principais obstáculos e as principais oportunidades para uma maior adoção de práticas agroflorestais
no Brasil? Para responder esta pergunta, sintetizo perspectivas de 18 entrevistas com stakeholders
agroflorestais no Brasil e 57 fontes da literatura sobre agrofloresta no Brasil. O resultado é apresentado em
duas tabelas com 11 obstáculos e 8 oportunidades, indicando fatores impedindo a proliferação de
agroflorestas brasileiras e fatores que poderiam estimulá-la. Utilizo a teoria do multi-level perspective para
analisar o caso da agrofloresta brasileira como uma potencial transição para a sustentabilidade na agricultura
brasileira, entendendo agrofloresta como um nicho desafiando o regime sócio-técnico da agricultura do país.
Chego à conclusão de que várias tensões de regime e vários momentos de nicho estão presentes na
agricultura brasileira, interagindo com os obstáculos e as oportunidades que a agrofloresta enfrenta,
conforme identifiquei. Mesmo que a agrofloresta pareça estar se fortalecendo no Brasil, é difícil dizer se ela
acarretará numa transição para a sustentabilidade no âmbito da agricultura brasileira. Transições raramente
são nítidas ou bem definidas e geralmente são difíceis identificar enquanto acontecem. Porém, parece
provável que uma transição para um futuro mais sustentável acabe acontecendo, embora o âmbito e a
velocidade sejam desconhecidos. Para concluir, vale enfatizar que abordagens focando na produção, como
agrofloresta, em si não conseguem garantir alimentos suficientes no futuro. Uma maior atenção a
comportamento alimentar e desperdício de comida precisa acompanhar uma produção mais sustentável. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Mindegaard, Asger LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20191
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
agriculture, agroforestry, sustainability transitions, multi-level perspective, Brazil, sustainability science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2019:011
language
English
additional info
Fieldwork grant from the MFS
id
8978706
date added to LUP
2019-06-03 15:03:01
date last changed
2019-06-03 15:03:01
@misc{8978706,
  abstract     = {As the negative environmental impacts of contemporary agriculture become still more evident and
widespread, the question of how to feed future generations while preserving the vital stability of the planet’s
environment is more urgent than ever. Major institutions are targeting the environmental sustainability of
agriculture, internationally as well as in Brazil. Brazil is one of the largest agricultural countries in the world
and also home to vast and vulnerable ecosystems of global importance such as the cerrado and the Amazon.
In this thesis, I investigate agroforestry as a more sustainable alternative to contemporary agricultural
practices in Brazil, seeking an answer to the question: what are the main obstacles to and opportunities for
a wider adoption of agroforestry in Brazil? To answer this question, I synthesise the insights from 18
interviews with Brazilian agroforestry stakeholders and 57 literature sources on Brazilian agroforestry. The
result is two tables with 11 obstacles and 8 opportunities, suggesting factors hindering the proliferation of
agroforestry in Brazil and what potentially could stimulate it. I use the multi-level perspective (MLP) theory
to analyse the case of Brazilian agroforestry as a potential sustainability transition of Brazilian agriculture,
understanding agroforestry as a niche innovation challenging the socio-technical regime of agriculture in the
country. I conclude that several regime tensions and niche momenta are present in Brazilian agriculture,
interacting with the obstacles and opportunities to agroforestry that I identified. Although agroforestry
seems to be gaining grounds in Brazil, it is difficult to say anything conclusive about whether it will bring
about a sustainability transition in Brazilian agriculture. Transitions are rarely clear-cut nor well-defined and
furthermore they are often difficult to identify in real time. However, it seems probable that a transition
towards more sustainability will happen eventually, although the scope and pace is uncertain. Finally, it is
worth considering that production-side approaches, such as agroforestry, alone cannot guarantee future
food sufficiency. An increased focus on the impact of dietary behaviour and food waste must accompany a
more sustainable production.},
  author       = {Mindegaard, Asger},
  keyword      = {agriculture,agroforestry,sustainability transitions,multi-level perspective,Brazil,sustainability science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {A shady future for Brazilian agriculture? Obstacles to and opportunities for agroforestry as a sustainable alternative to current agricultural practices},
  year         = {2019},
}