Research Project

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Geoecological studies of Faxinal systems within the Araucaria forests of Paraná (South Brazil)

The research focus lies on the geoecological comparison of silvo-pastoral Faxinal systems on different geologic basement formed by the highlands of Paraná. Surveying mainly vegetation cover soil attributes, an ecological sustainability assessment is implemented. Applied methods comprise remote sensing, GIS modelling, mapping of vegetation, relief and soil as well as chemical and physical soil analysis. Based on the assumption of different soil properties on quartz-rich migmamtites, clay stone or alkaline basalt, the three research areas are compared by their geoecological environment in reference to their individual social-economic background. Faxinais (pl. of Faxinal) are community based systems of mixed cultivation and wood pasture in the Araucaria forests that have principally served for self-supply of the early colonists up to recent descendants. Generally, all houses are located close to water courses in valley bottoms and lower slope positions. From there, the vegetation merges uphill from grass land to dense forest towards the limit of the pasture. Trenches or wire fences border the inner Faxinal and allow an extensive livestock husbandry. Minor agricultural plots are attached on upper slopes and hilltops outside the boundary marking the outer Faxinal. Today’s economic necessities and social transitions provoke the disintegration of the Faxinal system in all its characters, amongst others leading to the deterioration of its ecological state. The outer Faxinal is threatened by large-scale industrial farming cultivating tobacco or soya beans, the inner area of extensive wood pasture decreases due to land sales and individual management of property sections. Consequently is the degradation of the quasi-natural vegetation of the Araucaria forest related to the loss of biodiversity, soil depletion and erosion as well as water pollution and shortage.

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Latest Revision: 2015-07-08
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