Food security and climate change are two pressing issues shaping the future of tropical land use. Brazil, home to abundant land that is rich in carbon, water, and biodiversity and often cleared for agropastoral and renewable energy purposes, is the ideal location for studying socioeconomic and environmental trade-offs of land use dynamics. Here, I use recent (2000–2016) land-use land-cover change dynamics in the established agricultural states of Mato Grosso and Goia's to demonstrate how incentivizing intensive agricultural practices and improving degraded pastures may be a means by which Brazil can increase agricultural production while conserving the remainder of the Cerrado. I then discuss these outcomes with regard to agricultural expansion in the agricultural frontier region of Matopiba and briefly highlight contextual elements that need to be considered by other developing tropical countries looking toward Brazil as a model for agricultural and economic development.

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© SAGE Publishing. This article first appeared in Tropical Conservation Science 10 (2017), 1-7.

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