This is a brief description of studies that exemplify the methods and approaches that have been developed and used by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers in conducting integrated assessments. See the complete list of Integrated Assessment Briefs to find out more about ORNL's efforts in integrated assessment. Contact Mike Farrell ( for more information.

Causes and Consequences of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Smoke from agricultural burning covers a typical pioneer town in western Amazon during the dry season.

In Rondônia, Brazil, the tropical forest was cut and then burned so that agricultural crops could be planted.

What are the major factors promoting deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon?

Road development, initial soil conditions, and the distance of farms from markets can explain much of the deforestation and land degradation.

A model simulates how feed-back from socioeconomic and ecological aspects of land-use change can increase the rate of land degradation.

Land-use changes can be used to estimate changes in biodiversity, land degradation, and atmospheric CO2 and the effects of tropical deforestation.

Southworth, F., V. H. Dale, and R. V. O'Neill. 1991. Contrasting patterns of land-use change in Rondônia, Brazil: Simulating the effects on carbon release. International Social Science Journal 130:681-98.

Dale, V. H. and Pedlowski, M. A. 1992. Farming the forests. Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy 7(4):20-21.

Dale, V. H., R. V. O'Neill, and F. Southworth. 1993. Causes and effects of land-use change in central Rondônia, Brazil. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing 59:997-1005.

Dale, V. H., R. V. O'Neill, F. Southworth, and M. A. Pedlowski. 1994. Modeling effects of land-use change in central Rondônia, Brazil. Conservation Biology 8:196-206.

Where To?

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Integrated Assessment Briefs. 1995. ORNL/M-4227. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.