Linking Biodiversity to Agricultural Change: Impacts of Urbanization on Two Amazonian Quilombo Communities, Macapa, Brazil

EPA Grant Number: FP916346
Title: Linking Biodiversity to Agricultural Change: Impacts of Urbanization on Two Amazonian Quilombo Communities, Macapa, Brazil
Investigators: Steward, Angela M.
Institution: CUNY Graduate School and University Center
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2006
Project Amount: $81,728
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Geography , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


The objective of this research is to document the impacts of urbanization on agricultural practices in the communities of Carvão and Curiau, located in upland zones within the greater Macapá region, state of Amapá, Brazil. The research will examine whether or not observed demographic shifts encourage the development of hybrid agricultural systems—those that integrate modern technologies into pre-existing, locally evolved practices. A subsequent part of this research examines how changes in agricultural practices impact agrobiodiversity (the variation of plant species within farmers’ landholdings) and alter the proportional area of land-use types (changes in numbers and sizes of agricultural fields, fallows, forests, and house gardens). This research also will assess how urban expansion influences farmers’ access to agricultural technologies and financial services offered by private and government-sponsored programs. This will allow for the investigation of the economic viability of smallholder agriculture in this rural/urban transition zone.


This research will use a multidisciplined approach, involving both qualitative and quantitative methods. To document changes in agricultural practices and collect data regarding communities’ access to technologies and services, oral history interviews, semi-structured interviews, and household surveys will be conducted. Archives in the cities of Macapá and Belém will be visited to obtain information on the social and economic history of the region. A classification of land-use types will be completed through a landscape survey following established recommendations for the region. Using geographic information system (GIS) technology, detailed maps of present land-use types will be created. A historic map of the landscape will be developed using remote sensing imagery, Landsat images and aerial photographs. The present composition will be compared to this historic map to document changes in land-use. Biodiversity analyses will be conducted in each land-use type following the recommendations of the People Land Environment and Change Program. Larger agroecosystems will be inventoried using a random plot method while all plants in smaller agricultural areas will be catalogued. Analysis of the diversity and structure of the sample will include calculations of species richness, evenness, and diversity indices.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, biodiversity, agricultural practices, agrobiodiversity, Amazon, Brazil, urbanization, land use, rural/urban transition zone, agroecosystem,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Monitoring/Modeling, Agronomy, International, Agricultural Engineering, environmental monitoring, urbanization, Brazil, biodiversity, urban planning, land use model, landscape-scale monitoring, Amazon, ecosystem health, agrobiodiversity, urban environment, Amazon Basin

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004
  • 2005
  • Final