A collaboration between Imaflora, GeoLab of ESALQ and KTH (Royal Technology Institute in Sweden) resulted in the creation of a geo-referenced database of productive land throughout Brazil. The atlas covers the entire national territory of approximately 6.7 million polygons and, for the first time, shows publicly all public lands and those that are privately owned in the country.
The database divides land uses into 20 categories including, for example, protected natural areas of the State, INCRA settlements, and CAR (Rural Environmental Cadastre) properties, which together account for 80% of the country.
For the rest of the territory a complementary modeling was made to 1) examine the portions of land registered as private, 2) consider the limits of the rural properties surveyed by IBGE in 2006, 3) consider the size of rural properties surveyed in each municipality. The coverage of this area (20% of the territory) is essential to register unknown territories, which have been not considered in previous censuses.
The available database covers the entire national territory and is the best approach available in terms of size, location and distribution of public and private land. In addition, the Atlas is available for viewing and downloading on the “Atlas da Agropecuária Brasileira” project site.
The compilation reveals some surprises, such as the scope of small farms (less than 4 fiscal modules), where family farming is represented. Compared with the 2006 agricultural census, which remains the main reference in current studies on national agriculture, 1 million more properties were found in that category. The figures obtained approximate those of the ITR, available in the CAFIR database, indicating that with real estate growth since 2006, family farming has grown in importance with respect to real estate properties.
It also reveals that large properties occupy a similar area to the sum of all small and medium properties; and gets close to the sum of all protected areas of the country, including indigenous lands and conservation areas.
The uneven distribution of land between states is also evident. In Rio Grande do Sul 2% of the territory is public protected areas, 1% is dedicated to settlements and 89% is occupied by private property; Amazonas has 52% of its protected territory, 4% dedicated to settlements, 35% of public land and 6% of private properties.
According to Luis Fernando Guedes Pinto, from Imaflora, “in addition to the studies, the website provides additional and original information on the geography of national agriculture. In the coming months will be updated with new information, for example on land use, distribution of production and productivity of crops by season, as well as environmental and social information related to rural development and conservation of natural resources ” .
Professor Gerd Sparovek of GeoLab added that “the Atlas provides information and analysis for a better understanding of Brazilian agriculture and can serve as support for the formulation of public and private policies in the sector.”