Dynamics of indirect land-use change: empirical evidence from Brazil

Produced as part of the Governments, markets and climate change mitigation CCCEP research programme theme

Working Paper 74


The expansion of a given land use may affect deforestation directly if forests are cleared to free land for this use, or indirectly, via the displacement of other land-use activities from non-forest areas towards the forest frontier.

Unlike direct land conversion, indirect land-use changes affecting deforestation are not immediately observable. They require the linking of changes occurring in different regions.

This paper empirically estimates these indirect effects for the case of Brazil. It presents evidence of a positive relationship between sugarcane expansion in the south of the country and cattle ranching in the Amazon, suggesting that the former is indeed displacing the latter towards the forest frontier.

This displacement effect is shown to be a dynamic process, materialising over ten to 15 years.

Saraly Andrade de Sá, Charles Palmer and Salvatore Di Falco