Forests & Biodiversity Conservation



I am a biologist by training and have worked for several years on forest protection and biodiversity conservation policies. Coming from the world’s most biodiverse country (Brazil), this subject is close to my heart.

I am particularly interested in how domestic and international efforts can be combined to address today’s (mostly global) drivers of tropical forest loss. While not limited to it, I have spent a good deal of time analysing how REDD+ (the UNFCCC’s mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries) fits in the deforestation contexts of countries such as Indonesia, Ecuador, Mexico and Brazil.

I have also worked closely with indigenous peoples and smallholder farmers to discuss viable, sustainable alternatives to mainstream land-use. This relates both to the promotion of zero-deforestation commodity value-chains as well as to the creation of more sustainable, inclusive agroecological farming systems that preserve agrobiodiversity and can spur local sustainable development.

Below are some relevant projects and publications of mine related to Forests & Biodiversity Conservation.

(See also my forefront areas of interest: Sustainable Landscapes and Green Value-Chains & Bio-based Economy.)

Related Projects

Policy and governance dimensions of global agricultural supply chains 

This project, executed within the context of TRASE (a platform to ensure transparency and sustainability in global agricultural supply chains, visit, is an interdisciplinary effort to study policy and governance efforts to make the value chains of some of the most relevant global agricultural commodities (e.g. soy, palm oil, beef) more sustainable.

Partners: Chalmers University of Technology, Stockholm Environment Institute, Global Canopy, Université Catholique de Louvain, Centre for Development Research (University of Bonn).

 REDD+ Results-Based Finance

This project analyzed UNFCCC negotiations on REDD+ and the AFOLU sector (Agriculture, Forests and Other Land Use) in the context of the new climate agreement. I, in particular, examined policy coherence and “policy instrument mixes” adopted for REDD+ implementation under a landscape approach in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico. The project focused specially on the promotion of “non-carbon benefits” and sustainable local development in conjunction with forest conservation.

Funding: Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

Partners: The REDD@WUR Network (across Wageningen), and the WWF Forest and Climate Programme.  

♦ Community-Based Management Strategies for Biocultural Diversity Conservation – COMBIOSERVE

This project studied strategies for “biocultural” conservation on indigenous peoples’ lands in Bolivia, Brazil and Mexico. My work was to do fieldwork and analyze the case of the Pataxó indigenous people and their lands in northeast Brazil. I also assessed its multi-level governance setting within Brazil and the agency strategies of indigenous peoples and other actors as policy entrepreneurs in that context.

Funding: EU 7th Framework.

Partners: The State University of Feira de Santana (UEFS); and the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. (These were the partners I worked directly with; others were involved in different working packages of the project.)

♦ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation through Alternative Land-uses in Rainforests of the Tropics – REDD-ALERT.

This project assessed deforestation drivers, forest protection policies and room for  effective REDD+ actions in Cameroon, Indonesia, Peru and Vietnam. I was responsible for the Indonesia case study, and conducted  fieldwork together with  local partners. Our working package examined the policy and governance  dimensions of forest protection in face of (domestic and global) drivers of deforestation. Lessons were then extracted for REDD+ implementation in the country.  

Funding: EU 7th Framework.

Partners: The World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF); and the Indonesian Soil Research Institute.

Related Publications

Bastos Lima, M.G. and Da Costa, K. (2022). Quo vadis, Brazil? Environmental Malgovernance under Bolsonaro and the Ambiguous Role of the Sustainable Development Goals. Bulletin of Latin American Research, forthcoming. [Online access]

Bastos Lima, M.G. and Palme, U. (2022). The Bioeconomy–Biodiversity Nexus: Enhancing or Undermining Nature’s Contributions to People? Conservation 2 (1), 7-25. [Online access]

Bastos Lima, M.G. (2022). Just transition towards a bioeconomy: Four dimensions in Brazil, India and Indonesia. Forest Policy and Economics 136, 102684. [Online access]

Bastos Lima, M.G. and Kmoch, L. (2021). “Neglect paves the way for dispossession: The politics of ‘last frontiers’ in Brazil and Myanmar.” World Development 148, 105681. [Open access].

Bastos Lima, M.G., Harring, N., Jagers, S.C., Löfgren, Å, Persson, U.M., Sjöstedt, M., Brülde, B., Langlet, D., Steffen, W., Alpízar, F. (2021). “Large-scale collective action to avoid an Amazon tipping point – key actors and interventions.” Current Research in Environmental Sustainability, 3, 100048. [Open access].  

Persson, U.M., Bager, S., Bellfield, H., Burley, H., Green, J., Bastos Lima, M.G., França, C.S.S., Gardner, T., Kastner, T., Lathuillière, M.J., Meyfroidt, P., Pendrill, F., and West, C. (2020). A broad EU deforestation approach can help protect climate and biodiversity. Trase Briefing. [Online access]

Bastos Lima, M.G. and Persson, U.M. (2020). “Commodity-centric landscape governance as a double-edged sword: The case of soy and the Cerrado Working Group in Brazil“. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 3, 27. [Online access].

zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J, Ayre, B., Godar, J., Bastos Lima, M.G., et al. (2020). “Using supply chain data to monitor zero deforestation commitments: an assessment of progress in the Brazilian soy sector“. Environmental Research Letters 15, 035003. [Online access].

Bastos Lima, M.G., Persson, U.M., Meyfroidt, P. (2019). “Leakage and Boosting Effects in Environmental Governance: A Framework for Analysis“. Environmental Research Letters 14, 105006. [Online access].

Bastos Lima, M.G., Kissinger, G., Visseren-Hamakers, I.J., Braña Varela, J., Gupta, A. (2017). “The Sustainable Development Goals and REDD+: Assessing Institutional Interactions and the Pursuit of Synergies“. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 17(4), 589-606. [Online access]. 

Bastos Lima, M.G., Visseren-Hamakers, I.J., Braña Varela, J., and Gupta, A. (2017). “A Reality Check on the Landscape Approach to REDD+: Lessons from Latin America” Forest Policy and Economics, 78, 10-20 [Online access].

Bastos Lima, M.G., Braña-Varela, J., Visseren-Hamakers, I.J., Gupta, A., and Ashley-Cantello, W. (2015). REDD+ and the Sustainable Development Goals: Maximizing Synergies, Avoiding Conflicts. WWF-WUR brief no. 3. [Online access]

Bastos Lima, M.G., Braña-Varela, J., Kleymann, H., Carter, S. (2014). The Contribution of Forests and Land Use to Closing the Gigatonne Emissions Gap by 2020. WWF-WUR brief no.2. [Online access]

Bastos Lima, M.G., Braña-Varela, J., Gupta, A., Visseren-Hamakers, I., Huynh, T.B., Kleymann, H., Van Dexter, K., and Belecky, M. (2014). Promoting Non-carbon Benefits in REDD+ Actions. WWF-WUR brief no.1. [Online access]

Huitema, D., Bastos Lima, M.G., Bouma, J., Ludwig, K., Schols, P. (2014). Policy networks and community linkages for managing environmental and social change. European Policy Brief, Combioserve Project. [Online access]

Bastos Lima, M.G., Gupta, J., Grijp, N.vd, and Agus, F. (2013) “Case study: Indonesia”, in Climate Change, Forests and REDD (ed. J. Gupta, N. van der Grijp and O. Kuik). Routledge, London.

Gupta, J., Grijp, N. vd, Bigot, L., Bastos Lima, M.G., Kuiper, J.Y.B., and von Blücher, F. (2013). “Comparative Analysis of Vietnam, Indonesia, Cameroon and Peru”, in Climate Change, Forests and REDD (ed. J. Gupta, N. van der Grijp and O. Kuik). Routledge, London.