Sustainable land use planning can save the Amazon from the increase of fires related to climate change by the end of the 21st Century
A study published today in the prestigious journal Global Change Biology led by Scientists from the National Institute of Space Research (INPE) and the Centre for Disaster Research and Monitoring (CEMADEN) in Brazil, the University of Exeter – UK and the Stockholm University - Sweden, highlights that sustainable management of land use and cover may be the main solution to drastically minimize the extensive degradation of Amazonian forests by increased risk of wildfires driven by climate change.
The study, titled "Effects of climate and land-use change scenarios on fire probability during the 21st century in the Brazilian Amazon", indicates that future unmanaged forest conversions for agricultural uses in the Brazilian Amazon can enlarge the extend of areas with high probability of fire at the end of this century by more than 70% in relation to present day. This scenario includes, for example, the reduction of the effectiveness of protected areas, the paving of new highways and the increase in deforestation. When combined with IPCC´s CMIP5 pessimistic climate change scenario, which projects increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the 21st century, the area with high probability of wildfires could increase by up to 110%.
Dr Marisa Fonseca, a postdoctoral researcher at INPE and lead author of the study says:
“These figures are worrisome because, although this projection is made assuming a deforestation rate higher than the current one, the annual deforestation rates monitored by PRODES/INPE from 2012 to 2018, showed an increase around 65%".
According to the DETER/INPE deforestation alerts, between July 2018 and July 2019, 5,364 km2 of forests were cleared and another 4,405 km2 were affected forest fires. “This means that if we continue removing forest cover in Amazonia, we will be potentializing wildfire degradation of the remaining forests, with consequences for the stability of carbon stocks and environmental services" adds Dr Fonseca.
Conservation units and indigenous lands may not be safe. The results from the model indicate that more than 1 million km2 within indigenous lands or protected areas would be subject to an increased likelihood of occurrence of wildfires, threatening both ecosystems and human populations in these areas. The adoption of measures aimed at reducing deforestation and GHG emissions, however, can significantly reduce the probability of wildfires, even with the intensification of droughts in the Amazon by the end of the century.
Using a more optimistic combination of climate change and land use scenarios, which considers the compliance with environmental legislation, the Brazilian Forest Code, the protection of conservation units, and the reduction of deforestation to annual rates below 1000 km2 until 2025, associated to a reduction in the rate GHG emissions, with subsequent stabilization in the second half of the century, the increase in the area with high probability of fire would be 90% lower than the previous scenario. To reach the level of changes considered in the optimistic scenario used in this study, a coordinated effort by civil society, government and experts is critical, scientists say. "At CEMADEN, we are developing a system to monitor forest fires that allows the identification of property where there is fire, strengthening relations with local institutions and working with communities and schools in the State of Acre. These actions are the basis for reducing the risk of fires and their impacts. In the future we intend to expand this system to other states of the Amazon" says Liana Anderson, a scientist at the centre, and co-author of the study
Despite the alarming results of this study, Luiz Aragão, principal investigator of the research and head of INPE's Remote Sensing Division, sees the results with great optimism. The scientist says that "the study identifies a very serious problem and we have to use this result for the benefit of Brazil’s sustainable development".
"The results of Dr Fonseca et al. highlight potential threats to the stability of Amazonian ecosystems".
Aragão explains that "for the first time, we have been able to demonstrate that although the climate is changing, with the possibility of negative consequences for the Amazon, the biggest villain on the burning issue is the poorly planned use of land in this region".
"The bottom line is that unlike the climate, land use issues can be addressed through control measures that can be implemented quickly, solving a significant fraction of the problem."
"Brazil’s energy production is centred on hydroelectric power. Moreover, its economy is largely based on biological products, derived from plants and animals. To maintain the positiveness of the Brazilian trade balance, there is the need to guarantee exports of these products. To promote national development, therefore, society and governments have to understand that the Amazon rainforest with its full extent and function is essential to ensure, among other essential services, rainfall for agricultural production and for supplying river basins”, concludes Aragão.
Global Change Biology is ranked 1st among journals in the area of Biodiversity Conservation and 2nd in Global and Planetary Changes. The study can be accessed through the journal webpage at the link https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gcb.14709
At the TREES lab, we are testing new technologies for improving our capacity to understand the past, present and future of the Amazon forest.
With a team from National Institute for Space Research, in Brazil and the University of Exeter in the UK we performed the first flights of the fix wing platform named NAURU 500B integrated with a LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system (see images below). These flights were part of the project “Pre-Columbian Amazon-Scale Transformations (PAST)” led by Jose Iriarte from the University of Exeter.
For learning more about these Amazonian inhabitants, read the paper from Jonas Souza "Pre-Columbian earth-builders settled along the entire southern rim of the Amazon" published at Nature Communications (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-03510-7). Jona's paper is the 1st out of 1,067 tracked articles of a similar age in the journal!
Now, using these LIDAR point clouds from the UAV and also airplanes, we are investigating the spatial extent of earthworks in Amazonia. We hope to have interesting results soon!
A groudbreaking study shows that more carbon means more biodiversity in forests with a high degree of degradation, however, in forests with less human interference, increasing amounts of carbon may not be accompanied by more species.
Tropical forests are rich in carbon as well as biodiversity. As a result of climate and anthropogenic changes in tropical forests, there is an increase in the availability of financial resources for carbon protection in these ecosystems. Protecting carbon from tropical forests is a major goal of international climate change initiatives, drawing tens of billions of dollars in funding each year. However, one question still remains: Are these measures enough to promote the survival of species that inhabit these forests?
A study published yesterday in the renowned journal Nature Climate Change (https://www.nature.com/ articles /s41558-018-0225-7) suggests that the answer to this question is not so simple. The study was prepared by an international team of scientists from Brazil, Europe and Australia, including Embrapa Amazônia Oriental (leader of the study) and the National Institute of Space Research (INPE). The group found that investments to avoid carbon losses in tropical forests are likely to be less effective for the conservation of biodiversity in the forests of greater ecological value. To the researcher's surprise, in these forests (which are the most preserved), up to 77% of the species that would have been protected through actions aimed at biodiversity conservation would not be protected in the case of measures focused exclusively on the protection of carbon stocks.
"Protecting carbon stocks from tropical forests should remain a central goal in international conservation policies," says Joice Ferreira, one of the leaders of the study and researcher at Embrapa. "This type of measure can not only slow down climate change, but also has the potential to protect life if it is unique and irreplaceable in tropical forests like the Amazon. However, to ensure that such species survive, biodiversity needs to be treated as a central focus of conservation efforts - as well as carbon. "
Tropical forests store more than a third of the world's terrestrial carbon. Human-induced phenomena such as deforestation and degradation (logging, hunting, forest fires and forest fragmentation) can trigger the release of carbon and increase the effects of global climate change.
Luiz Aragão, a scientist at the Tropical Ecosystems and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (TREES - www.treeslab.org) of INPE's Remote Sensing Division, states that "this study proves the efforts of Brazilian scientists to better understand patterns and processes in tropical forests for supporting public policies for environmental conservation and promotion of sustainable development, such as the National Strategy for REDD + ". Aragão says that "the results of this research are part of a long-term collaboration between these scientists, who have already demonstrated the effects of forest degradation on biodiversity (https://www.nature.com/articles/nature18326 ) and on forest carbon emissions ( https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02771-y). "We have now been able to connect these two elements, essential for maintaining ecosystem services, carbon and biodiversity, in an analysis that provides support for strategic planning of actions for conservation of our forests", adds the scientist. Remote sensing techniques have already contributed to significant advances in our understanding and quantification of forest carbon, however, Aragão recognizes that "for promoting biodiversity protection there is still a long way to go in terms of development of remote sensing techniques". This development also depends on extensive field monitoring.
This study is critical for aligning carbon conservation with biodiversity efforts. Gareth Lennox, one of the study leaders and a scientist at the University of Lancaster, explains that "forests with the highest carbon content do not necessarily harbor more species, which means that conservation focused exclusively on carbon can leave aside rainforest areas that are quite biodiverse". However, the scientist of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI, its acronym in English), Sweden, Toby Gardner, one of the co-authors of scientific work, states that "by considering carbon and biodiversity together, we find, for example, that the number of large tree species that can be protected increases up to 15% over the carbon-exclusive approach. In contrast, in this same situation, there is only a 1% reduction of carbon stocks".
Reducing the effects of climate change requires the protection of biodiversity. Professor Jos Barlow of the University of Lancaster explains: "Biodiversity and climate change are intrinsically linked when we focus on rainforests. Warmer weather and changes in rainfall patterns will lead to the extinction of many tropical species and it is important to remember that forest carbon resides in the biodiversity of tropical forests. Poverty of species will inevitably result in carbon poverty. Addressing the climate crisis requires the protection of both simultaneously".
The scientific article, Ferreira et al. (2018), Carbon-focused conservation may fail to protect the most biodiverse tropical forests (Carbon-focused conservation may fail to protect the most biodiverse tropical forests), is available online in the journal Nature Climate Change ( DOI: 10.1038 / s41558-018-0225-7).
Credits: André Lima and Luiz Aragão (INPE)
Data Souce: DNPM and MMA, these data were compiled from these sources for the study publish in Science. For more information on the database, please follow this link.
Brazil´s globally significant ecosystems could be exposed to mining and dams if proposals currently being debated by the Brazilian Congress go ahead, according to researchers publishing in the journal Science this week.
The new report by a group of Brazilian and British researchers comes in the wake of Brazil´s recent presidential elections. It warns that new legislation could pose a serious threat to protected areas, weakening Brazil’s international status as an environmental leader.
One of the proposals of particular concern is the call to open up 10% of the most strictly protected areas to mining. In a new analysis, the research shows that at least 20% of all Brazil´s most strictly protected areas and reserves for indigenous people overlap with areas that have been registered as under consideration for mining. In addition, many of the river systems associated with protected areas will be influenced by the construction of large hydroelectric dams.
The threat that this mining and hydropower poses to Brazil’s ecosystems is not trivial. Areas of registered interest for mining in Amazonia, for instance, include 34,117 km2 that are currently classified as strictly protected areas – including National Parks, Biological Reserves and Wildlife Refuges. This is equivalent to an area the size of Switzerland. The situation is worse for amazonian indigenous lands, 28% of which, or 281,443 km2, overlap with areas of registered mining interest – an area larger than the whole of the UK or the state of São Paulo.
In recent years Brazil has enjoyed increasing recognition as a world leader in combatting environmental destruction. Brazil´s protected area network is the largest in the world, while improved environmental governance in private lands has contributed to an 80% reduction in the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon over the last decade. Yet these new proposals could threaten these recent successes and undermine Brazil’s reputation.
Dr Joice Ferreira, a scientist at Brazil´s agricultural research institute, Embrapa, and lead author of the study, said: “The purpose of this analysis is not to say that Brazil´s development should not benefit from its abundant natural resources, but that we should not squander our hard-won record of success and leadership in favor of fast-tracked and poorly planned development projects that leave a long legacy of environmental damage. It is possible to manage our development in a more sustainable way.”
Co-author Dr Jos Barlow, a researcher at Lancaster University and a visiting professor in Brazil, said: “Rather than exploiting protected areas for short-term gains, Brazil should treasure them for the long-term benefits they can provide to society. The recent water shortages in the south east of Brazil emphasize the importance of protecting native vegetation across the country.”
The authors of the study also warn that the proposals for minimizing and mitigating the environmental damage of large-scale development projects are so inadequate that even if only a fraction of these mining concessions were approved then the impacts could be enormous, especially in Brazil´s most threatened ecosystems.
Dr. Luiz Aragão a co-author of the study from Brazil´s federal space agency, INPE and the University of Exeter said: “Our concern is that even if the proposed mitigation actions were put in place they are oversimplified because they fail to take account of the indirect effects of mega-projects.
“These projects can involve thousands of workers and lead to rapid local population growth. This, combined with new roads and access routes, is a recipe for the emergence of new deforestation frontiers.” explains Luiz.
The study highlights the fact that these worrying changes reflect an important shift in the support shown by Brazil´s federal government to environmental protection. These concerns come on the back of other recent changes, including the partial dismantling of Brazil´s protected area system to make way for development – with some 44,100 km2 lost since 2008 due to downsizing or abolishment - and the weakening of the Forest Code that gave an amnesty to landowners who deforested illegally in the past.
“Beyond the conservation and stewardship of its own biodiversity and environmental resources, so vital to the wellbeing of its citizens, Brazil plays a vital role in motivating and supporting the adoption of more sustainable development trajectories around the world,” said Toby Gardner, of Stockholm Environment Institute, one of the authors of the study who has worked in the country for more than a decade. “Yet this standing is now in jeopardy.”
Dr Joice Ferreira said: “The newly elected government has the chance to set the record straight and point Brazil firmly on a path of sustainable development. The authors of this report call on President Dilma and her government to ensure that individual development initiatives are subject to a comprehensive, socially inclusive, evidence-based and long-term cost-benefit analysis that compares potential environmental and social impacts against alternative development options. And also to ensure that Brazil´s renowned protected area network is given the resources it needs to manage our ecosystems sustainably.
“Above all we ask the Government to guarantee that important decisions regarding the management of Brazil´s natural resources involve the full and democratic participation of Brazilian society.”
Créditos da figura: André Lima e Luiz Aragão (INPE)
Fonte de dados: DNPM e MMA
De acordo com pesquisadores que publicam na revista Science desta semana, os ecossistemas do Brasil, de importância mundialmente reconhecida, podem estar ameaçados se propostas, para mineração em unidades de conservação e para o estabelecimento de hidrelétricas, atualmente em debate no Congresso Nacional, seguirem em frente.
O novo estudo de pesquisadores da EMBRAPA e do INPE, além de outros colaboradores brasileiros e britânicos é publicado logo após as eleições do Brasil. Ele adverte que as mudanças propostas podem representar uma séria ameaça para as áreas protegidas, enfraquecendo a posição internacional do Brasil como um líder ambiental.
Uma das propostas, que causa especial preocupação, consiste em um projeto de lei para abrir 10% das áreas de proteção integral à mineração. Em uma análise inédita, a pesquisa mostra que pelo menos 20% da área de todas as reservas estritamente protegidas e terras indígenas do Brasil coincidem com as áreas que foram oficialmente registradas como de interesse para a mineração. Além disso, muitos dos sistemas hídricos associados com áreas protegidas serão influenciados pela construção de grandes usinas hidrelétricas. A sobreposição entre áreas protegidas e interesse mineral ou hidrelétrico ocorre principalmente na Amazônia.
A ameaça que a mineração e usinas hidrelétricas representa para os ecossistemas do Brasil não pode ser desprezada. As áreas com interesse registrado para a mineração na Amazônia, por exemplo, perfazem 34.117 km2 das áreas atualmente classificadas como áreas de proteção integral - incluindo os Parques Nacionais , Reservas Biológicas e refúgios de vida silvestre. Isto é equivalente a uma área do tamanho da Suíça. A situação é pior para as terras indígenas amazônicas, das quais 28%, ou 281.443 km2 tem sobreposição com áreas de interesse de mineração registrado - uma área maior do que o Reino Unido ou o estado de São Paulo.
Nos últimos anos o Brasil tem tido um crescente reconhecimento como líder mundial no combate à destruição ambiental. O país tem a maior rede de áreas protegidas do mundo e avanços na governança ambiental, incluindo em terras privadas, tem contribuído para uma redução de 80% na taxa de desmatamento na Amazônia brasileira durante a última década. No entanto, essas novas propostas podem ameaçar esse sucesso e minar a reputação ambiental do Brasil.
A Dra. Joice Ferreira, pesquisadora da Embrapa e primeira autora do estudo, disse: "O propósito desta análise não é dizer que o Brasil não deve se desenvolver e beneficiar de seus recursos naturais abundantes, mas que não devemos ameaçar nossa reputação duramente conquistada de sucesso e liderança em favor de projetos de desenvolvimento pouco planejados que deixam um longo legado de danos ambientais. É possível gerenciar o nosso desenvolvimento de forma mais sustentável".
Dr. Luiz Aragão, coautor do estudo e pesquisador do INPE disse: "Nossa preocupação é que, mesmo se propostas de mitigação fossem efetivadas, estas tendem a ser muito simplistas porque não consideram os efeitos indiretos de mega-projetos. Esses projetos, normalmente, mobilizam milhares de trabalhadores e levam a um rápido crescimento da população local. Isto, combinado com novas estradas e vias de acesso é uma receita para o surgimento de novas fronteiras de desmatamento”.
A solução, segundo os autores do estudo, é inicialmente se conscientizar que a manutenção das funções ambientais, através da preservação de ecossistemas únicos, é parte do desenvolvimento e não um competidor. Segundo, é ter a garantia por parte dos tomadores de decisão que as iniciativas de desenvolvimento sejam sujeitas a uma análise técnica de custo-benefício, socialmente inclusiva e de longo prazo, baseada em evidências científicas que comparem os potenciais impactos ambientais e sociais contra opções alternativas de desenvolvimento, para garantir o cumprimento da Constituição Federal (Art. 225).
Os autores ressaltam que “este estudo é relevante para salientar que decisões importantes a respeito da gestão dos recursos naturais do Brasil devem ser feitas com a participação plena e democrática da sociedade brasileira".
Research fellow opportunity at School of Geography, Faculty of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds. This post will be a research fellowship for 5 years and then become a faculty post (Associate Professor level), and is part of a university wide investment in emerging research talent. We are looking for a candidate in the fields of biogeochemical cycling, tropical forest ecology, ecophysiology, paleoecology, or related.
If you would know of a strong candidate we would very much appreciate if you could forward them our email.
With thanks and best wishes
Roel Brienen, Emanuel Gloor and Oliver Phillips
For more information on this post, please see: https://jobs.leeds.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?id=331&forced=1
as the president of the Scientific Committee, I would like to invite you to submit your research on any related topic to the XI Seminar on Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System Applied to Forestry.
Your participation is very welcome and we hope you enjoy our meeting.
For further information on invited speakers and abstract submission please see our webpage.
We are also on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/xisengef
como presidente do Comitê Científico, gostaria de convidá-los a submeter sua pesquisa em qualquer tópico relacionado com o escopo do XI Seminário de Atualização em Sensoriamento Remoto e Sistemas de Informação Geográficas Aplicados a Engenharia Florestal.
Sua participação será muito bem vinda and esperamos que vocês aproveitem nossa reunião.
Para mais informações sobre palestritas convidados e submissão de trabalhos por favor veja nossa página web.
Estamos também no Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/xisengef
News from Lancaster University: https://hr-jobs.lancs.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=A813
Lancaster Environment Centre
Salary: £31,331 to £36,298
Closing Date: Wednesday 13 November 2013
Interview Date: Wednesday 20 November 2013
An exciting opportunity exists for an experienced researcher to play a lead role in a NERC (UK) & FAPESP (Sao Paulo, Brazil) funded research project ECOFOR, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in degraded and recovering Amazonian and Atlantic Forests. This NERC funded position will start in January 2014 to September 2017 (with a possible extension to December 2017).
This post will be jointly funded by Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, and Lancaster Environment Centre, but will also communicate regularly with Brazilian project members. The project involves collecting data on ecosystem carbon cycling and plant traits. Core duties include a) planning and managing data collection in undisturbed, logged, burned and secondary Amazonian forests, b) data analysis, c) assisting with the supervision of students, d) reporting to the research team and e) disseminating results through high impact scientific publications. You will be expected to undertake the planning phase of the project at Lancaster and will spend a significant period of time conducting and managing fieldwork in the Brazilian Amazon, before moving to Oxford in the latter stages to oversee the analysis and publication of key findings.
You should hold a PhD in an appropriate area (such as Ecology, Environmental Science or Plant Physiology) and have research expertise in tropical forests and some experience of project management. You will be self-motivated, collaborative and hold strong communication and interpersonal skills. Ability to work independently is also essential. Good knowledge of Portuguese is also highly desirable.
For EU/UK nationals the Research positions are a full-time role but the post-holders will be given two separate part-time contracts of employment, one with Lancaster University and one with the University of Oxford. The two contracts will run in parallel for a fixed term of 4 years. For non-UK nationals an alternative contractual arrangement would be undertaken to comply with UK Border Agency rules, consisting of an initial 2-year contract with Lancaster very likely to be followed by a 2-year contract with Oxford.
Informal inquiries may be directed to Jos Barlow firstname.lastname@example.org, Yadvinder Malhiyadvinder.email@example.com & Carlos Joly firstname.lastname@example.org
Interviews will be held on 20 November 2013. Interview by Skype is possible for individuals unable to travel to Lancaster on that date. This post is available from January 2014.
Post-Doctoral Researcher in Tropical Forest Landscape Ecology – State University of Campinas, BRAZIL : Campinas, Brazil
Opportunity for an experienced researcher to play a lead role in the THEMATIC RESEARCH PROJECT BIOTA-FAPESP/NERC-UK ECOFOR: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in degraded and recovering Amazonian and Atlantic Forests (FAPESP 2012/51872-5).
The project coordinators are Profs. Carlos A Joly Biology Institute/UNICAMP-Brazil and Jos Barlow Univ. Lancaster – UK. The post-doctoral position will be funded by a FAPESP grant and will use Landscape Ecology approaches to assess biodiversity (birds and plants) and ecosystem services (carbon and water) along a transect of preserved, degraded and recovering Atlantic Forests in the Paraiba do Sul Valley, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Submission & Deadline: applicants should submit a cover letter highlighting key qualifications and interests, a copy of current curriculum vitae with complete bibliography, three reference letters, and PDF copies of three publications that provide evidence of relevant skills by October 31, 2013 to Prof. Carlos A. Joly at email@example.com
Full advertisement at: http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/jobs/346360-post-doctoral-researcher-in-tropical-forest-landscape-ecology-state-university-of-campinas-brazil
Three days for the completion of Work Group I report!
The report from WG I will go through the last stage of the review process, which is called "Approval/Acceptance step" in Stockholm, Sweden on the 23 -26 September 2013.
WG I is responsible for "The Physical Science Basis" of the full report. The Stockholm session will be convened to approve the "Summary for Policy Makers" (SPM) from WG I to IPCC's AR5. The final document will be available (http://www.climatechange2013.org/) on 27 September 2013.
This session will also be the opportunity to accept the underlying scientific and technical assessment.
For a detailed view of the review process please go to the IPCC website (http://www.ipcc.ch/activities/activities.shtml#.Ujx0ssZwrcs)
Below you can have a brief overview of the process:
Source: IPCC website.
Free Training Opportunity
Course: NASA Remote Sensing Data for Water Resources Management
October 17 - November 14, 2013, Thursdays (5 webinars)
Session I registration: 8-9 AM EDT (12 PM UTC) click here
Session II registration: 1-2 PM EDT (5 PM UTC), click here
For further Information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
According to NASA website
they aim to increase the utility of NASA Earth Science and model data for decision-makers and applied science professionals in the area of Water Resources Management Applications. NASA is running several capacity building activities on utilization of NASA satellite remote sensing and model data for a variety of water management applications including floods and snow related topics.
If you would like more information about any of the activities and materials available on the program or to request a training please contact:Ana.I.Prados@nasa.gov
NASA announces the arrival of the new NASA Earth Observations (NEO) website! Over 50 different global datasets are represented with daily, weekly, and monthly snapshots, and images are available in a variety of formats including JPEG, PNG, Google Earth, and GeoTIFF.