The cash payments for carbon credits available under the Kyoto Protocol as part of the effort to address global warming are clearly one option, they say. Under this approach, nations and companies around the world literally pay for the rights to continue some of their development plans that would inject carbon into the atmosphere, so long as development plans elsewhere are shelved. The Brazilian Amazon offers an ideal site to sell such carbon credits, which might provide up to $2 billion per year to Brazil while keeping the Amazon forests intact.
Besides the cash they might provide through this mechanism, the researchers said, Brazil must also consider the benefits of intact forests for reducing floods, conserving soils, maintaining stable regional climates, preserving biodiversity and supporting both local populations and ecotourism.
Also, they suggest that agricultural land in Brazil could be used intensively rather than extensively, favoring high-value agroforestry and perennial crops over fire-maintained cattle pastures and slash-and-burn farming plots.
Such a model is very unlikely to develop, however, the researchers say in their report, when land is cheap, destructive wildfires are common, and vast new frontiers are being continually opened for colonization.