January 24, 2013
River and forest abuts vast soy field in the Brazilian Amazon. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
Here's how it works: Brazilian authorities fix the Invisible Tracck—smaller than a deck of cards—onto a tree. An illegal logger cuts down the tree and puts it onto a truck for removal, unaware that they are carrying a tracking device. Once Invisible Tracck comes within 20 miles (32 kilometers) of a cellular network it will 'wake up' and send a signal to Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente (IBAMA), who will then be able to track the moving tree to the mill and arrest the criminals at will.
Invisible Tracck was developed by Brazilian technology company, Cargo Tracck, and will be piloted by Dutch security company, Gemalto. The small device has a battery life of a year.
Authorities hopes Invisible Tracck will begun another powerful tool to deter illegal logging. From August 2011-July 2012, deforestation in the Amazon reached a record low in its near quarter century of monitoring. Still, even at its low point the Amazon still lost 1,798 square miles (4,656 square kilometers) of forest in 12 months, an area larger than the size of Rhode Island. By the end of last year, worryingly deforestation had begun to tick up again.
The largest rainforest on Earth, the Amazon is home to an incredible wealth of species and numerous indigenous tribes. The forest is also a vast carbon sink, a major source of freshwater, and has an important impact on regional weather patterns.
Amazon deforestation rate pacing ahead of last year
(01/18/2013) Data released by Imazon, a Brazil-based NGO, shows that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon continues to pace well ahead of last year's record low rate.
Amazon rainforest failing to recover after droughts
(12/24/2012) The impact of a major drought in the Amazon rainforest in 2005 persisted far longer than previously believed, raising questions about the world's largest tropical forest to cope with the expected impacts of climate change, reports a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Amazon deforestation obliterates soil biodiversity, with wider ecological implications
(12/24/2012) Deforestation in the Amazon leads to a substantial loss in microbial biodiversity potentially reducing the ecological resilience of affected areas, report researchers writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Brazil launches forest trading system
(12/19/2012) Brazil has launched a new platform that enables farmers and ranchers who have cleared forest beyond the legal minimum to come into compliance by purchasing forest 'quotas' from landowners who have more than the mandated level of forest cover, reports the Associated Press. The system could spur increased compliance with the country's Forest Code, according to some experts.
Brazil sues to block unlicensed REDD deal between Irish company and indigenous group
(12/17/2012) Brazil's Attorney General Office has filed a lawsuit against an Irish company and an indigenous group for unlicensed sales of carbon credits generated from an reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) project, reports Reuters Point Carbon.
Some Amazon trees more than 8 million years old
(12/14/2012) Some Amazon rainforest tree species are more than eight million years old found a genetic study published in the December 2012 edition of Ecology and Evolution.
Advanced technology reveals massive tree die-off in remote, unexplored parts of the Amazon
(12/12/2012) Severe drought conditions in 2010 appear to have substantially increased tree mortality in the Western Amazon, a region thought largely immune from the worst effects of changes occurring in other parts of the world's largest rainforest, reported research presented last week at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The findings suggest that the Amazon may face higher-the-expected vulnerability to climate change, potentially undercutting its ability to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by absorbing carbon dioxide through faster growth.