A disappearing biome? Reconsidering land-cover change in the Brazilian savanna Academic Article uri icon


  • The Cerrado, the tropical savanna covering 22% of Brazil's territory, or approximately 1.783 million km2, has suffered significant human impacts during the past three decades. This paper re-examines estimates of Cerrado vegetation change dynamics using high-resolution satellite remote sensing data from an area of interest extracted from eastern Mato Grosso State. This region has undergone a high degree of typical agricultural development since the early 1970s. Results indicate significant loss of original vegetation as well as high levels of regeneration, suggesting Cerrado vegetation may be more resilient to human impacts than catastrophic estimations suggest. The paper concludes with a critical review of Cerrado land-cover change studies and the implications of evidence for vegetation regeneration, land-cover dynamism and land-use intensification, paying particular attention to spatial scale and research methods. The discussion concludes that Cerrado land-cover change studied at a higher resolution and larger scales (smaller area) is required to represent more effectively the complexity of land conversion for better assessment of human impacts and environmental policy. 2005 The Royal Geographical Society.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Jepson, W.

citation count

  • 104

complete list of authors

  • Jepson, W

publication date

  • June 2005