In 2017 the United Nations recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Report that progress towards sustainable development must happen at a faster rate if we aim to meet the global goals of ending poverty, with strategies addressing economic growth, education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. The contribution of tropical nations to the SDGs pass necessarily through the development of sustainable mechanisms to minimize the negative impacts of land use and land cover change (LULCC). LULCC is perhaps the most complex problem for these nations to resolve. Together with deforestation, wildfires, caused by the interaction of social and climate systems are currently a major driver of reduction of Amazonian carbon stocks and biodiversity, as well as an important threat to the well-being of the ~25 million Amazonian inhabitants. Most Earth System Models predict increasing occurrence and intensity of droughts in the Amazon during the 21st century. Based on these estimates, we anticipate that future climate-land cover arrangement can enhance the direct negative impacts of wildfires on ecosystems services, by degrading forests and altering carbon and water cycles and impacting biodiversity and human well-being. We therefore expect a collapse of the resilience of Amazonian ecosystems, and a consequent loss of their capacity to fully provide ecosystem services, with an increased risk of economic and human health failure. These fire-related socio-environmental disasters were particularly critical in the Amazonian states of Madre de Dios (Peru), Acre (Brazil) and Pando (Bolivia), known as MAP, the focal region of our proposal. Minimizing the impacts of these potentially ascending socio-environmental transbordering problems in Amazonia is the first step for adapting to a changing climate in the region.
Considering that future fire occurrence is a major threat to ecosystems, its inhabitants, and international commitments of Amazonian countries for achieving sustainable futures and reducing CO2 emissions, this project aims to: 1) develop a comprehensive understanding of current and future fire probability as well as quantifying fire impacts in the Amazon basin; 2) produce a diagnostic and identify challenges and bottlenecks of operational and community-based strategies of fire monitoring and prevention routines for wildfire risk management in the MAP region; 3) contribute towards the increase of risk awareness and capacity/resilience of populations; and 4) influence conservation strategies and policies at the basin-wide and MAP region, by standardizing the terminology among actors, identifying actors of change and streams of information flow for policy changing and providing technical reports for governments in the Amazon region.
The four outcomes are interlinked and aim to strengthen the science-police-citizen interface. The proposed transdisciplinary aims and consequent production of results will provide the first comprehensive benchmark for interpreting impacts and proposing plausible solutions to mitigate Amazonian wildfires. Information generated during this project will not only support local populations improving human well-being, but also subsidize nations with critical information for risk-informed decision making, complying with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Moreover, our project will contribute to efforts set at the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change –Convention of the Parties 21 (CoP21) that called nations to combating climate change and adapting to its impacts. Signatory countries, including MAP countries, are required to present emission reduction plans named “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs), for which our project can provide critical information. Results from this proposal will be critical for policymakers to strengthen the efforts of effectively limiting carbon emissions from tropical forest fires in the years ahead. This project, therefore, brings key information for nations to prepare for urgent actions aiming to mitigate the potential increase of fire emissions in response to the intensification of droughts in tropical ecosystems.