The resource nexus consists of a framework to address interlinkages between natural resources and systems that provide water, energy, food and waste management. It transcends traditional assessments conducted in “silos”, raising trade-offs and synergies that are rarely acknowledged. The nexus framework is intrinsically context-specific, as each respective region has particularities in terms of critical interlinkages. Brazil is the world’s eighth largest economy [1] and is heavily reliant on natural resources. This paper considers Brazil to be a textbook case for nexus research that identifies critical interlinkages that are neglected by literature, which is typically based on single-resource analysis. It proposes a research agenda to advance resource nexus assessments and improve resource governance in Brazil. We propose a novel method for nexus research, systematically reviewing geographical context-specific papers in relevant single nexus dimensions and establishing resource interlinkages that characterize research gaps and policy priorities. We found that 36% of practices reviewed involve more than one resource at a time, characterizing interlinkages not analyzed by the literature. Lastly, selected quantitative indicators were used to identify critical interlinkages by analyzing the representativeness of practices in the national context, and the relevance of synergies or trade-offs for Brazil. Critical interlinkages in Brazil were found to be irrigation for energy crop expansion (water, food and energy); transport biofuels and fuelwood (water, energy, food); deforestation for new pasture (water, energy, food); and hydropower generation (water and energy). These are, therefore, priorities for future nexus research and for efforts to address synergies and trade-offs in resource governance.

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews Vol 138 

Lilia Caiado Couto, Luiza C. Campos, Warde da Fonseca-Zang, Joachim Zang, Raimund Bleischwitz

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