Brazil-Paraguay sub region

Integrated sustainable landscape management in the Cerrado Biome in Brazil and Paraguay


Partners: World Wildlife Fund, Institute for Society, Population and Nature

Key thematic areas

The priority areas of food, biodiversity and climate are embedded in these three main axes of sustainable agriculture and land rehabilitation: (i) conservation and socio-biodiversity, (ii) policy dialogue, and (iii) advocacy.


Despite being one of the most endangered ecosystems worldwide, the Cerrado is not considered a priority for conservation by many sectors. Decades of government-led agricultural expansion have led to the conversion of almost 50% of the natural vegetation cover, as well as land fragmentation, with cattle ranching, soybean farming and land grabbing as the main drivers. In some areas, soy production has grown by 250% and annual greenhouse gas emissions from land conversion are equal to those of 53 million cars.


To promote integrated sustainable landscape management in the Cerrado Biome in Brazil and Paraguay, with socioeconomic inclusion, socio-biodiversity protection as well as climate mitigation and adaptation.


The Cerrado Biome is the world’s most biodiverse savanna, covering more than 2 million square kilometers in Brazil and Paraguay. It is home to 83 different Indigenous groups and a wide range of traditional communities, who have received varying degrees of recognition and land tenure. The Cerrado provides crucial ecosystem services at national, regional and global scales, supplying 70% of the country’s agricultural output and 44% of its exports. The two priority areas in Brazil are MATOSUL in parts of Mato Grosso do Sul state and the upper Paraguay river basin, and MATOPIBA in parts of Maranhão, Tocantins, Piaui and Bahia states; and Alto Paraguay Department in Paraguay. Areas in MATOSUL suffer from low agricultural productivity and soil degradation as a result of long-term settlement. While settlement is more recent in MATOPIBA, agricultural frontier expansion has led to the highest deforestation rates in the Cerrado, with resulting biodiversity loss, water pollution and social conflicts.


This project aims to promote: (i) sustainable and climate-smart agriculture (SCSA) in landscapes and food production systems; (ii) conservation through the sustainable use of socio-biodiversity as well as the strengthening of protected and conserved areas; and (iii) public and private policies/practices for water and food security, sustainable landscape management and the reduced conversion of natural ecosystems.

Specific actions

Specific actions includes the promotion of SCSA practices – activities such as implementing sustainable agricultural protocols, rehabilitating degraded land, protecting headwaters, as well as capacity-building and technical-assistance initiatives. For conservation and socio-biodiversity, activities include analyzing local production, supporting the development of socio-biodiverse supply chains – e.g. seed chains to promote the recovery of degraded areas and trees in agricultural landscapes – and building administrative/management capacity in protected areas. In terms of policy dialogue and advocacy, activities include collaborating with public attorneys to improve transparency on legal compliance, supporting multi-stakeholder landscape management initiatives, and raising awareness about the global importance of the Cerrado.


Seline Meijer, WWF-NL.