Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Forestry

Major Professor

Dave Ostermeier

Committee Members

Donald Hodges, Ronald Foresta

Abstract

The Atlantic Forest of south-eastern Brazil is a hot-spot for biodiversity and should be conserved. It is also at the center of the largest municipalities in Brazil and therefore has a severely fragmented landscape. Iracambi, a working farm near the Serra do Brigadeiro state park in Minas Gerais, is working for conservation in an area of intense agricultural production and expanding forestry industry. Most households in this rural area have some amount of eucalyptus on their property and consequently the director of Iracambi is developing the preliminary foundation for a forest corridor program comprised of primarily eucalyptus with the goal of integrating native species whenever possible. In this research, an exploratory case study was conducted with the purpose of determining if an integrated forest corridor should be considered as a viable option for Iracambi in the greater Serra do Brigadeiro region (near the communities of Araponga, Ervália, Fervadouro, Miradouro, Pedra Bonita, and Sericita). The majority of the survey participants revealed interest in the proposed forest corridor program and many expressed further interest if this would help them achieve compliance with the environmental law requiring a Legal Reserve Area (ARL) on private property. There is a need and a desire for programs that would subsidize ARL adherence in this area, since many studies recognize that adherence levels are at approximately ten percent nationally. Barriers to implementation, however, include cultural barriers that would primarily require acceptance with influential community members, knowledge and cost barriers associated with proper stand management, and current economic circumstances which lack a market for sustainably produced, higher quality eucalyptus timber. Additionally, policy barriers, which do not provide sufficient incentives to comply with environmental laws, further impede implementation of an integrated forest corridor program in this area. If these key barriers to implementation could be addressed, an integrated forest corridor program could prove as a viable option for Iracambi and this area and therefore, this thesis offers some recommendations for the successful implementation of this proposed program.

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