Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations

First Advisor

Jean Krasno

Second Advisor

Bruce Cronin


biodiversity, climate change, Brazil, food security, food systems, land-use


What is referred to as climate change today is the rapid warming of the climate, largely from human actions, and the effects that come with that warming. One study published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2021 argues that, “human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases have caused increases in global average temperatures, changes in precipitation timing and intensity, rising sea levels, and many other changes.” A Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) study found that when looking at the number of countries exposed to climate extremes in five year periods from 2000 to 2020, the number of countries “exposed to three or four different types of climate extremes” has gone up during every period. One aspect of climate change that has also been studied is its impact on food production. The aforementioned FAO study plainly stated that: “climate variability and extremes contribute to greater risk of food insecurity.” Climate impacts food production, and food production also impacts climate. According to the FAO, food systems in general “are a major driver of climate change.” Climate change is not the only result of modern food production, biodiversity loss is as well. According to a recent study by Chatham House, because of policies used to achieve current food production and prices, agriculture now “depends heavily on the use of inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides, energy, land and water, and on unsustainable practices such as monocropping and heavy tilling.” The current trade-offs and compromises between food production on the one hand and climate and biodiversity on the other are unsustainable in the long term. This unsustainable dynamic between food, climate, and biodiversity can be seen strongly in Brazil. Agriculture comprises about 10 percent of Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP) and makes up about 20 percent of Brazil’s export revenue. Even so, paper from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that, “agricultural commodity production causes significant biodiversity loss.” Biodiversity loss and climate change are particularly important in Brazil because Brazil is the most biodiverse country in the world.

Available for download on Saturday, May 06, 2023