The aim is to strengthen the understanding of nature as an attribute of competitiveness and innovation from a regional perspective. A dialectical relationship is used to consider competitiveness, innovation, and nature as interconnected and not separated dimensions. The expansion of the sugarcane frontier in the south of the Brazilian state of Goiás is taken as empirical evidence. The method compares two municipalities, Mineiros and Goiatuba, with similar economic structures but located respectively in unfavorable and favorable environments. While Mineiros is less competitive than Goiatuba, the challenge of producing sugarcane in soils with higher erodibility stimulated investments in knowledge creation.

Keywords: Competitiveness, Regional Innovation, Nature, Sugarcane, Brazil.

Author Biographies

Fernando Campos Mesquita, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis (SC) Brazil.

Graduated in Geography from UFU, Master in Geography from UNICAMP and PhD candidate in Geography from UNICAMP.

Selma Simões Castro, State University of Campinas, Piracicaba (SP), Brazil.

PhD in Sciences / Physical Geography from USP (1990), post-doctorate in soil science at INRA-Rennes (France) (1991). Professor at USP-Geography (1975-1997) (Pedology, Soil Analysis, Tropical Soils), Physical Geography and Research Orientation at undergraduate and postgraduate levels (Soil Micromorphology). Full professor in Physical Geography and Soils (since 1997) from UFG- Federal University of Goiás, in Geography (Masters and Doctorate) and in Environmental Sciences (Multidisciplinary Doctorate) in disciplines related to Soils and Environmental Impacts, Soils and the Environment, Pedogenesis x Morphogenesis, Soil Micromorphology. Ad hoc consultant for CAPES, CNPq, FINEP, FAPESP, FAPEG, FAPEMIG and several journals in Geography, Environment and Soils and Environment. She coordinated the Pedology Laboratory at USP / LABOPED and the Geomorphology, Pedology and Physical Geography Laboratory / LABOGEF at UFG, which she founded. Research in soils, landscape and environment with an emphasis on environmental impacts of land use and multiscale geocartography, genesis, morphology and micromorphology of soils and physical-water behavior of soils. She presided over the UGB-União da Geomorfologia Brasileira (2001-2003) and was Editor of the Brazilian Journal of Geomorphology, (A1 / Qualis). Prof. visitor from the UNICAMP Geosciences Institute/Dept. of Geography, with support from FAPESP (2002-03) and the Soil Department of the Luiz de Queiroz School of Agriculture, University of São Paulo with support from FAPESP (2014-2015). Member of the Postgraduate Assessment Committee - Geography /CAPES (1999-2004), of CAINTER - Interdisciplinary Assessment Committee (July 2009/November 2011) and of the Environmental Sciences Assessment Committee, from 2011 to 2015, of which signatory of the creation proposal. Since March 2018, she has been a Senior Professor in the Department of Soil Science at the Higher School of Agriculture (ESALQ) at USP, collaborating with pro-graduate students and working in the disciplines of Soil Micromorphology and Soil and Landscape in the Postgraduate Program in Soils. She is also part of the Postgraduate Program in Geography at the Department of Geography at UNICAMP / State University of Campinas.

Ricardo Castillo, State University of Campinas, Campinas (SP), Brazil.

PhD in Geography (Human Geography) from the University of São Paulo (1999), with an internship (PDEE-CAPES) at the University of Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne (1995-1997). He is a Professor at the Institute of Geosciences at the State University of Campinas (since 2000) and a Researcher at CNPq (since 2001). He has experience in the area of Geography, with an emphasis on Network and Flow Analysis (Transport and Communications) and Agricultural Geography and Regional Geography, working mainly on the following topics: geographic network, productive spatial circuit, logistics of agricultural products, new information technologies and regionalization of Brazilian territory.


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How to Cite
MESQUITA, Fernando Campos; CASTRO, Selma Simões; CASTILLO, Ricardo. HOW DOES NATURE AFFECT COMPETITIVENESS AND INNOVATION?. Mercator, Fortaleza, v. 23, feb. 2024. ISSN 1984-2201. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 apr. 2024. doi: