World May Lose Over 40% of Brazil’s Amazon by 2050

Unless Brazil enforces existing conservation laws and takes steps to prevent deforestation on private land, it will lose more then 40 per cent of its Amazon rainforest by 2050, say scientists.

The predictions, published on March 24 in Nature magazine, are among the first to emerge from a unique, large-scale study that is using computer models to simulate how factors such as logging, farming, climate and policy decisions could affect the future of the forest.

The models predict that unless Brazil takes action, eight of the Amazon basin’s twelve main watersheds will lose more than half of their forest, increasing the risk of flooding. 

They also suggest that almost 100 of the region’s wild mammal species could lose more than half of their habitat.

The news is not all bad, however, says lead author Britaldo Soares-Filho of the Federal University of Minas Gerais State, Brazil.

The study predicts that if Brazil puts in place measures to protect the Amazon, as much as 73 per cent of it could remain intact in 2050.

To achieve this, Brazil would need to enforce existing laws and prevent the loss of rainforest on private land by creating economic incentives for farmers to manage their land sustainably.

As well as protecting watersheds and conserving biodiversity, this would prevent 17 billion tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere by 2050, say the researchers.

Under the model’s optimistic scenario, the Amazon would still have 4.5 million square kilometers of living forest in 2050, Soares-Filho told reporters. Currently, the Brazilian Amazon covers 5.3 million square kilometers.

Brazil is making increasing efforts to control deforestation, and to set up more than 70,000 square kilometers of new conservation areas that were designated in 2004 and 2005.

But, says Soares-Filho, this is not enough as most areas at risk are on private land that could be profitably deforested for timber or to farm cattle or soybeans.

The researchers say that ways of encouraging farmers to manage their forested land sustainably could include certification schemes that reward environmentally sound timber production, or a carbon trading scheme to reward avoided greenhouse gas emissions.

This article appeared originally in Science and Development Network – www.scidev.net.

Tags:

Ads

You May Also Like

Brazilian Bar Association Ready to Call for Lula’s Impeachment

The Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) decided, Monday, November 7, to create a commission to ...

Brazil Central Bank’s Survey Shows the Industry’s Upbeat Mood

Prospects for industrial growth have been looking up for three weeks, according to expert ...

Brazil Lula’s Refusal of a Third Term Sends Message to Caudillo Chávez

With the Brazilian presidential election approaching in October 2010, potential candidates have started to ...

Brazilian Juice Producers Learn to Get the Right Taste for Export

Brazilian mangoes, pineapple, paw-paw and grapes have found a fertile territory in the Arab ...

Brazil’s Export Agency to Spend US$ 88 Million in Promotion

The Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency Apex (Apex) announced the signing of 26 ...

US Opposes Brazil Proposal for Anti-Racism Pact at the OAS

The Brazilian government’s proposal to draft an Inter-American Convention Against Racism and All Forms ...

A Lesson Brazil Is Learning: We Are the Wealth

Recently, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) held a meeting in Cairo, Egypt, to ...

As Walking Metamorphosis Brazil’s Lula Has Become Target for Left and Right

The long interview given by Brazilian President Lula to O Estado de S. Paulo ...

A Little Coffee Maker from Brazil Looks For Coffee Lovers Overseas

The landscape of Volta Redonda, in the interior of the southeastern Brazilian state of ...

British Foreign Secretary to Meet Brazilian President in Advance of G8 Summit

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett will visit Brazil between July 2 and 4 at ...