Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas Ambientais

The landscape of São Paulo north coast : an interdisciplinary approach in the relationship between human population and native vegetation

Author: Raquel Carnivalle Silva Melillo
Advisor: Mateus Batistella
Date of defense: 31/03/2017


Célia Regina Tomiko Futemma

 Lucia da Costa Ferreira

 Álvaro de Oliveira D’Antona

 Gabriela Farias Asmus

 Leonardo Ribeiro Teixeira


In this study we carry out a multilevel analysis of biodiversity conservation and the presence of human populations in protected areas. The theoretical discussion begins at the international level, progressively working down a conservation “scale” to empirical analysis at the local and regional levels. Specifically, we look at the context and empirical analysis of social and institutional change in the Unini River basin, Barcelos, Amazonas, from the point of the establishment and implementation of three Conservation Units, each with a different category and type of management: Jaú National Park, Rio Unini Extractive Reserve and Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve. The main research objective was to identify and analyse which factors led groups that are legally defined as “traditional peoples”, residents in protected areas, to present different patterns of response to the threats and opportunities represented by environmental policies. In this way we sought to reflect on the adequacy of Brazilian environmental institutions to deal with the issue of traditional people resident in the protected areas of Amazonia, and elsewhere. At the local level, the analysis was based on two axes: natural resource use and land use planning, which were understood from the perspective of the main social conflicts surrounding these issues. The methodology was based on qualitative and quantitative research methods from anthropology and sociology, such as: participant observation, situational analysis, institutional analysis, surveys and semi-structured interviews, as well as analysis of documents relating to the management and implementation of the Conservation Units in question. We can see that the environmental paradigm for conservation has evolved from a basis in scientific understanding more quickly than is reflected in practice. Various problems relate to the lack of feedback mechanisms between arenas at different levels relating to biodiversity conservation. We consider the lack of formal institutions to deal with the dilemma of human populations in strict protection Conservation Units as an example of this problem. New institutions are needed to address the issue in a more just, equitable way. As for the main research objective, we demonstrate empirically that there are different patterns of response of social groupings of residents along the Unini River, relating to the overlap of the Conservation Units with the areas where they traditionally live. No variable in isolation was enough to determine a family’s decision whether to migrate or remain in their current community, but the presence and type of community leadership is the factor that varied most between the different response patterns observed, as well as the level of formal education available in the communities


Vegetation dynamics Land use maps Population