'Protecting tropical forests is essential for achieving the climate goals..' - 'Deforestation of the Amazon is about to reach a threshold..'

Posted by ProjectC 
'Protecting tropical forests is essential for achieving the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. Global Forest Watch Climate recently released estimated carbon dioxide emissions associated with the 2017 tropical tree cover loss data, and the numbers demonstrate more of what we already knew. If tropical tree cover loss continues at the current rate, it will be nearly impossible to keep warming below the pledged two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).'

- By the Numbers: The Value of Tropical Forests in the Climate Change Equation, October 4, 2018

'Deforestation of the Amazon is about to reach a threshold beyond which the region's tropical rainforest may undergo irreversible changes that transform the landscape into degraded savanna with sparse, shrubby plant cover and low biodiversity. This warning derives from an editorial published in the journal Science Advances co-authored by Thomas Lovejoy, a professor at George Mason University in the United States, and Carlos Nobre, chair of Brazil's National Institute of Science & Technology (INCT) for Climate Change.

"The Amazon system is close to a tipping point," Lovejoy said. According to the authors, since the 1970s, when studies conducted by Professor Eneas Salati demonstrated that the Amazon generates approximately half of its own rainfall, the question has been raised of how much deforestation would be required to degrade the region's hydrological cycle to the point at which it would be unable to support rainforest ecosystems. The first models developed to answer this question showed that the tipping point would be reached if approximately 40 percent of the region were deforested. In this case, central, southern and eastern Amazonia would experience diminished rainfall and a lengthier dry season. Moreover, the vegetation in the southern and eastern parts of the region would become similar to savanna.'

- Amazon deforestation is close to tipping point, March 20, 2018

'I also knew that some of the measures that would make a real difference for preserving the Amazon are relatively straightforward. That regrown forest, for example, could be monitored. The satellites that sweep over the Amazon take no pictures of regrowth: Once a patch of forest is marked as cleared, it is subsequently skipped. Something as simple as turning a camera on it now would allow the government to track what is regrowing.

Brazilian agriculture is hugely inefficient, something I’d been reading on paper for years but understood in a new way when I drove through the endless fields of newly cleared pasture, right next to previously cleared land that had been abandoned. Brazil does need a stronger agricultural sector; it is a vital part of the economy, just as Mr. Ferrarin and the other farmers insisted.

With technical assistance to farmers and ranchers – teaching them about crop rotation to prevent pasture degradation, for example; and using water tanks, instead of ponds, for cattle – the sector could expand without losing another hectare of forest.

At the same time, by stripping corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency out of its land-titling system, Brazil could deliver ownership documents to Brazilians who are already legally farming in the Amazon, turning their farms into collateral for credit that they could then reinvest to increase their productivity. And the government could stop settling poor farmers in the forest – people with no assets and no technical support who have little choice but to clear land for cattle, because they have no other way to make a living.

For the more than half of farming that is already made possible by government credit, such credit could be conditional on farmers demonstrating compliance with the Forest Code. And government spending – on credit, but also on infrastructure such as roads and bridges – could be prioritized for municipalities that are operating within the Code: The likes of Vice-Mayor Gelson Dill’s Novo Progresso could be blacklisted until a majority of properties are compliant.

In addition, the research institute Imazon found that a quarter of all deforestation in the Amazon in 2016 took place on public land that hadn’t been zoned. As a result, no one is assigned to monitor what happens on that land. By converting it into Conservation Units and recognized Indigenous territory, the government could dampen the market in land speculation.

Marco Lenti of the World Wildlife Fund described as “reasonably well managed” the 2.5 million hectares of Amazon that are currently licensed and used for sustainable logging (four or five of the oldest trees per hectare are removed each year). Those swaths of forest are safe and monitored. But there is so much consumer concern now about dirty supply chains, and about rainforest wood in general, that people don’t want to buy even from such legal producers, he said. “I think we need to use the forest to give it value,” he said.

These steps are not easy, but they are manageable, in the context of what Brazil has been able to do already. But what I understood only once I’d driven the road was how intense are the pressures to do something different.

The 30 million people – almost a Canada – who live in the forest want better lives, and so do millions more Brazilians.

They see a resource whose value is to be maximized immediately. They have willing partners, in China in particular, ready to fund the infrastructure that guarantees a steady flow of food, and in companies such as Cargill, ready to process it in the supply chain of their giant transnational businesses.

Almost everyone I met on our journey talked about the price they were being asked to pay – to protect the forest, or to develop it. The ranchers and the farmers asked why the cost of stored carbon and recycled rain should come out of their pockets. The Munduruku wonder why their survival must be bartered for a growing economy that will fund Brazil’s pensions and universities. Should Western consumers bear some of the price, too, by paying more for sustainable rainforest products, for wooden decks or soy-based pet food or steak? Everything – wood, soy, cattle – raised on farms compliant with the Forest Code costs more, because because it comes from a reduced area of productive land on property that's mostly forest. And auditing those supply chains costs money, too.

One day not long after our trip, I sat in my office in Rio and clicked open the latest satellite feed of images of the Amazon. I thought about how silent and how clean it looked from above, with wisps of cloud across the images – and also, once you know what you’re looking at, how crowded. And I remembered Mila Ferreira, the environmental-protection agent, and something she told me when we were standing in a smouldering field, with bemused cows watching us eating a pineapple we were given by a friendly, unhelpful farmer.'

- Stephanie Nolen, The Road - ..to preserve the Amazon as a bulwark against climate change, January 26, 2018

Brazil - 'One concern noted by the OC is that, although climate change is barely mentioned on the political agenda, its effects can already be felt. The year 2017 was considered the hottest in history, according to NOAA, the American oceans and atmosphere agency. In Brazil, the worsening of extreme events, such as droughts and floods, is also a reality: 48.6% of municipalities have suffered from droughts in the last four years, according to IBGE. The coast is vulnerable to sea level rise: 18 of the 42 Brazilian metropolitan regions are located in the coastal zones, where the sea can rise up to 40 cm by 2050, in the most pessimistic scenario. Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Recife, Fortaleza, Salvador and Vale do Itajaí (SC) are among the regions most prone to flooding and extreme weather events. The climate must also have an impact on different crops, including soybeans, sugarcane and coffee.'

- What is your candidate going to do about global warming? September 14, 2018

Context Imagining the Amazon: European Colonialism & the Making of Modern-Day Amazonia

(Global Healing 2020 - 2050) - Global Greening - '..a cheap method of rapidly rebuilding damaged ecosystems using Iseeds.'

(Global Healing 2020 - 2050) - Global Greening - the rise of agro-forestry - '..global attempt to plant and restore forest land..'

2017 Was the Second-Worst Year on Record for Tropical Tree Cover Loss, June 27, 2018

Deforestation in the Amazon: There may be no going back, March 21, 2018

The Chain: Deforestation in the Amazon Hits an 11-Year High as Demand for Brazilian Soy Increases, October 9, 2018

A new study says that many large-scale hydropower projects in Europe and the US have been disastrous for the environment, November 5, 2018

Terra Preta