Impacts of land management and climate change in a developing and socioenvironmental challenging transboundary region

Alma Mendoza-Ponce*, Rogelio O. Corona-Núñez, Luzma Fabiola Nava, Francisco Estrada, Oscar Calderón-Bustamante, Enrique Martínez-Meyer, Julia Carabias, Adriana H. Larralde-Corona, Mercedes Barrios, Pedro D. Pardo-Villegas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Land-use/cover change is the major cause of terrestrial ecosystem degradation. However, its impacts will be exacerbated due to climate change and population growth, driving agricultural expansion because of higher demand of food and lower agricultural yields in some tropical areas. International strategies aimed to mitigate impacts of climate change and land use-cover change are challenging in developing regions. This study aims to evaluate alternatives to minimize the impacts of these threats under socioeconomic trajectories, in one of the biologically richest regions in Guatemala and Mexico. This study is located at the Usumacinta watershed, a transboundary region that shares a common history, with similar biophysical properties and economic constraints which have led to large land use/cover changes. To understand the impacts on deforestation and carbon emissions of different land-management practices, we developed three scenarios (1): business as usual (BAU), (2) a reducing emissions scenario aimed to reduce deforestation and degradation (REDD+), and (3) zero-deforestation from 2030 onwards based on the international commitments. Our results suggest that by 2050, natural land cover might reduce 22.3 and 12.2% of its extent under the BAU and REDD + scenarios, respectively in comparison with 2012. However, the zero-deforestation scenario shows that by 2050, it would be possible to avoid losing 22.4% of the forested watershed (1.7 million ha) and recover 5.9% (0.4 million hectares) of it. In terms of carbon sequestration, REDD + projects can reduce the carbon losses in natural vegetation, but a zero-deforestation policy can double the carbon sequestration produced by REDD + projects only. This study shows that to reduce the pressures on ecosystems, particularly in regions highly marginalized with significant migration, it is necessary to implement transboundary land-management policies that also integrate poverty alleviation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113748
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume300
Early online date17 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Mexican Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT), with the project FORDECyT 273646 , and the Dirección General de Asuntos del Personal Académico (DGAPA), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) with postdoctoral fellowships to A.V.M.P and R.O.C.N. We thank the Centro del Cambio Global y la Sustentabilidad, A.C. for the logistic support.

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Mexican Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT), with the project FORDECyT 273646, and the Direcci?n General de Asuntos del Personal Acad?mico (DGAPA), Universidad Nacional Aut?noma de M?xico (UNAM) with postdoctoral fellowships to A.V.M.P and R.O.C.N. We thank the Centro del Cambio Global y la Sustentabilidad, A.C. for the logistic support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

Copyright:
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Deforestation
  • Guatemala
  • Mexico
  • REDD+
  • Usumacinta watershed

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