Brazil plans to cut Amazon deforestation to zero by 2015
September 26, 2008
Brazil aims to cut net deforestation to zero by 2015 according to a plan that will be released by the government next week.
“It’s a bold plan, with voluntary and sectoral targets that together represent the reduction by hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide a year, be it through reducing waste, improving energy efficiency or the progressive reduction of deforestation and planting of native and commercial forests,” Environment Minister Carlos Minc said in a statement.
The plan will apparently rely both on reforestation and reductions in deforestation, although it is presently unclear to the extent that industrial plantations will count toward its goal. The government is weighing a proposal allow landowners to include oil palm plantations as part of their legal forest reserve. Brazilian law requires landowners in the Brazilian Amazon to maintain 80 percent of the forest cover on their land and the change could allow ranchers and farmers to legally covert up to 30 percent of their holdings for the oilseed, which is used to produce palm oil. An emphasis on plantations in the plan would be significant in that they are deficient in terms of biodiversity and carbon storage relative to natural forests.
Brazil says the plan will help the country reduce its greenhouse gas emissions — 70 percent of which result from deforestation. Brazil is the world’s fourth larger CO2 emitter when land use is included in the emissions tally. Since 2000 more than 160,000 square kilometers of the Brazilian Amazon has been cleared.
Brazil recently announced the creation of a $21 billion “Amazon Fund” for preserving Earth’s largest rainforest. The fund relies on donations from foreign governments and private entities. Norway said it would commit up to $1 billion dollars depending on Brazil’s success in reducing deforestation.
Amazon deforestation jumps 69% in 2008
(8/31/2008) Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased 69 percent in the past 12 months as high commodity prices have driven forest conversion for ranches and cropland, according to preliminary figures released by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The increase comes after three consecutive years of declining deforestation in Brazil.
Future threats to the Amazon rainforest
(7/31/2008) Between June 2000 and June 2008, more than 150,000 square kilometers of rainforest were cleared in the Brazilian Amazon. While deforestation rates have slowed since 2004, forest loss is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This is a look at past, current and potential future drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
Brazil’s Amazon conservation efforts worth $100 billion
(5/29/2008) A plan to protect large expanses of the Amazon rainforest could reduce carbon emissions by 1.1 billion tons by 2050, according to a study presented in Bonn, Germany at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
Half the Amazon rainforest will be lost within 20 years
(2/27/2008) More than half the Amazon rainforest will be damaged or destroyed within 20 years if deforestation, forest fires, and climate trends continue apace, warns a study published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Reviewing recent trends in economic, ecological and climatic processes in Amazonia, Daniel Nepstad and colleagues forecast that 55 percent of Amazon forests will be “cleared, logged, damaged by drought, or burned” in the next 20 years. The damage will release 15-26 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, adding to a feedback cycle that will worsen both warming and forest degradation in the region. While the projections are bleak, the authors are hopeful that emerging trends could reduce the likelihood of a near-term die-back. These include the growing concern in commodity markets on the environmental performance of ranchers and farmers; greater investment in fire control mechanisms among owners of fire-sensitive investments; emergence of a carbon market for forest-based offsets; and the establishment of protected areas in regions where development is fast-expanding.
How much would it cost to end Amazon deforestation?
(1/27/2008) With Brazil last week announcing a significant jump in Amazon deforestation during the second half of 2007, the question emerges, how much would it cost to end the destruction of Earth’s largest rainforest?
Amazon deforestation could be eliminated with carbon priced at $3
(12/4/2007) The Amazon rainforest could play a major part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that result from deforestation, reports a new study published by scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center, the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazonia, and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. At a carbon price of $3 per ton, protecting the Amazon for its carbon value could outweigh the opportunity costs of forgoing logging, cattle ranching, and soy expansion in the region. 2008 certified emission-reduction credits for carbon currently trade at more than $90 per ton ($25 per ton of CO2).
Is the Amazon more valuable for carbon offsets than cattle or soy?
(10/17/2007) After a steep drop in deforestation rates since 2004, widespread fires in the Brazilian Amazon (September and October 2007) suggest that forest clearing may increase this year. All told, since 2000 Brazil has lost more than 60,000 square miles (150,000 square kilometers) of rainforest — an area larger than the state of Georgia or the country of Bangladesh. Most of this destruction has been driven by clearing for cattle pasture and agriculture, often in association with infrastructure development and improvements. Higher commodity prices, especially for beef and soy, have further spurred forest conversion in the region. While drivers of Amazon deforestation are stronger than ever, mounting concerns over climate change and the effort to reign in greenhouse gas emissions may provide new economic incentives for landowners to preserve forest lands through a concept known as “avoided deforestation”.