Expansion of biofuel cash-crops and its geoethical implications in the scope of groundwater governance
MetadataShow full item record
Understanding the links between geoethics, land use dynamics, and groundwater governance (and more specifically, the groundwater vulnerability) is an opportunity to qualify the discussion on the rapid expansion of cash-crops in developing countries. This is the case of sugarcane expansion in the Pontal do Paranapanema Region (PPR), State of São Paulo, Brazil, where degraded pasture areas were converted into sugarcane crops in the last 20 years. The Brazilian plan for biofuels includes new areas and crops among the territory, considering the updated countries NDCs at COP26. The aim of this paper was to propose a geoethical assessment approach to sugarcane expansion along areas with natural vulnerability, focusing on groundwater governance. Despite sugarcane expanding over the pasture, not triggering direct deforestation after 1985, from the hydrogeoethical viewpoint, this expansion occurred under aquifer vulnerability, triggering negative impacts on aquifer recharge, which could affect crops in the future, because the region is dependent on groundwater for rural supply. We identified potential issues in groundwater governance using free and public data to guide future research at more detailed levels. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].