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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2013 Apr 22;368(1619):20120166. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0166. Print 2013 Jun 5.

A social and ecological assessment of tropical land uses at multiple scales: the Sustainable Amazon Network.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK. tobyagardner@gmail.com

Erratum in

  • Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2013 Aug 19;368(1624):20130307.

Abstract

Science has a critical role to play in guiding more sustainable development trajectories. Here, we present the Sustainable Amazon Network (Rede Amazônia Sustentável, RAS): a multidisciplinary research initiative involving more than 30 partner organizations working to assess both social and ecological dimensions of land-use sustainability in eastern Brazilian Amazonia. The research approach adopted by RAS offers three advantages for addressing land-use sustainability problems: (i) the collection of synchronized and co-located ecological and socioeconomic data across broad gradients of past and present human use; (ii) a nested sampling design to aid comparison of ecological and socioeconomic conditions associated with different land uses across local, landscape and regional scales; and (iii) a strong engagement with a wide variety of actors and non-research institutions. Here, we elaborate on these key features, and identify the ways in which RAS can help in highlighting those problems in most urgent need of attention, and in guiding improvements in land-use sustainability in Amazonia and elsewhere in the tropics. We also discuss some of the practical lessons, limitations and realities faced during the development of the RAS initiative so far.

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