Deforestation and climate feedbacks threaten the ecological integrity of south-southeastern Amazonia. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • A mosaic of protected areas, including indigenous lands, sustainable-use production forests and reserves and strictly protected forests is the cornerstone of conservation in the Amazon, with almost 50 per cent of the region now protected. However, recent research indicates that isolation from direct deforestation or degradation may not be sufficient to maintain the ecological integrity of Amazon forests over the next several decades. Large-scale changes in fire and drought regimes occurring as a result of deforestation and greenhouse gas increases may result in forest degradation, regardless of protected status. How severe or widespread these feedbacks will be is uncertain, but the arc of deforestation in south-southeastern Amazonia appears to be particularly vulnerable owing to high current deforestation rates and ecological sensitivity to climate change. Maintaining forest ecosystem integrity may require significant strengthening of forest conservation on private property, which can in part be accomplished by leveraging existing policy mechanisms.

publication date

  • June 5, 2013