The multidimensionality of the Environmental Vulnerability Index in the process of recovery of the Rio Doce Basin, Brazil

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Demetrius David da Silva

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Vulnerability assessment is fundamental to environmental management as it allows the identification of areas or resources at risk and the threats posed by the decrease or loss of such resources. The Doce River Basin, which is historically characterized by agricultural degradation and deforestation, suffered in 2015 the most significant environmental impact in Brazil’s history from the mine tailings dam breach in Mariana (Minas Gerais state), which generated several environmental compensation activities, as the reforestation of 400 km² in water recharge areas (WRAs) and watercourses preservation areas (WPAs). The objective of this work was them to establish a methodology for mapping environmental vulnerability in the Doce River Basin to allocate space for environmental recovery. The WPAs were determined according to Brazilian legislation and the WRAs were determined using the multi-criteria Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP), considering the relief position, climatological water balance, soil drainage, and depth and terrain planform curvature. Subsequently, an AHP was performed to identify the environmental vulnerability in the Basin, using the parameters land use adequacy, erosion potential, quantitative water balance, and fires/heat sources. Finally, a third analysis was done to prioritise the municipalities that presented the highest relative percentage of degraded WPAs and WRAs, generating the environmental vulnerability index (EVI). In all of the 228 municipalities of the Rio Doce Basin, those with the highest EVI were concentrated in the middle part of the Basin area around the cities of Governador Valadares, Aimorés and Colatina, which are characterised by lower rainfall indices, deforestation, and extension of livestock use.

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Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration