In Brazil, agriculture expansion is taking place primarily in the Cerrado ecosystems. With the aim of supporting policy development and protecting the natural environment at relevant hotspots, a scenario study was conducted that concerned not only land-use change, but also the resulting effects on erosion and deposition. This coupled approach helped to evaluate potential landscape impacts of the land-use scenarios. In the study area, the Balsas sub-basin in Maranhão State, a model chain was used to model plausible future soybean expansion locations (CLUE-S model) and resulting sediment mobilization patterns (LAPSUS model) for a business-as-usual scenario. In the scenario, more erosion occurred in areas where the conversion of natural vegetation into soybean cultivation is likely to take place, but the generated sediments tended to accumulate mainly within the conversion areas, thus limiting the offsite effects of the increased erosion. These results indicated that when agricultural expansion is kept away from rivers, Cerrado conversion will have only a limited impact on the sediment loads of local rivers. Where land-use changes are most concentrated are coincident with areas where more new sediments are generated (higher erosion) and where more sediments are re-deposited.
- land-use change