South America

Arbeiter im venezolanischen Regenwald bearbeiten den Boden.Dimana Shishkova

In many states of Latin America, argicultural industrie has early been discovered as economic sector of strategic importance. Countries such as Chile, Brazil and Argentina have decided to develop and support this sector. Typical developments in this context are:

  • A monofunctionality of spatial use on the regional level
  • Land use conflicts with indigenious and rural livelihoods
  • Negative consequences on ecosystems for instance caused by changes of the water level, loss of biodiversity and soil erosion
  • A lack of benefit sharing of the benefits of the forest industries
  • Increase of natural risks linked to land use, e.g. forest fires and gravitative mass movments

The establishment of monoculture short rotation plantations, especially in Chile, which is highly subsidized by the state and supported by infrastructure development, could be instructive for other countries as well. The increasing demand for forest-based raw materials is favoring the expansion of the forest industry in many countries. Some of them have followed the Chilean model in the past. In addition, efforts to limit climate change to below 2 ° C in the long term as defined in the Paris Agreement could lead to an expansion of such forest monocultures. Over 40% of the signatory states see afforestation measures as part of their national contribution.

The main research topics are:

  • The environmental changes that result from the rapid expansion of the forest industry at the regional level and how these affect social systems.
  • Governance mechanisms that enable or prevent multi-stakeholder use of forests and plantation edges.
  • Natural hazards related to the forest industry and how they can be managed.
  • Regional economic developments in connection with the forest industry.
Exkursion über die schneebedeckten Gipfel der Anden.Elisabeth Platzer