Tropical deforestation releases massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, making it a major contributor to climate change. The main cause of deforestation is agricultural expansion, followed by extraction of commodities. The INCLUDE project examines deforestation in the dry Chaco of the Argentine province of Salta.
Encompassing over six million hectares of forest, the Chaco Salteño belongs to the Great American Chaco, the second-largest tropical forest on the American continent after the Amazon. Chaco Salteño also exhibits one of the fastest deforestation rates in the world: between 1970 and 2015, an area of forest about the size of two football pitches was cut down every minute, on average.
The region is home to considerable ethnic and cultural diversity, including criollos (small-scale livestock farmers of European descent) and indigenous peoples.
The research project examines the following three themes:
Ten years after the introduction of a new forest law, the INCLUDE project examines the governance structures that were created to implement sustainable forest management. The main project objective here is:
Introduction of genetically modified soybean varieties in the 1990s and high international prices for commodities like maize, soya, rice, and wheat led to expansion of agriculture in the province of Salta. Marginal land areas, formally owned by absentee landowners, suddenly gained in value. The result: Small-scale livestock farmers (criollos), who lived in these areas for many years without any formal title, have been increasingly displaced. Land conflicts have increased – as has land degradation.
In this context, the project investigates
Indigenous communities, whose identities are rooted in “traditional” uses of forest flora and fauna, are faced with finding other sources of livelihood. Lacking alternatives, they are often forced to sell their labour in activities involving deforestation. This places them in conflict with local environmental laws – and ultimately their own identity. These contradictions add to tensions within the community.
In this context, the project examines
Spotlight on prior study
Dr. Carla Inguaggiato