Brazil demonstrating that reducing tropical deforestation is key win-win global warming solution

ince the beginning of 2004, Brazil has created more than 20 million hectares of parks, extractive reserve, and national forests in the Amazon region, and many of these protected areas are located in the agricultural frontier. These protected areas, if fully enforced, will prevent one billion tons of carbon from being transferred to the atmosphere through deforestation by the year 2015. Brazils deforestation rates have been cut nearly in half in recent years through a combination of government intervention and economic trends.

"We are encouraging the Brazilian government to fully endorse the Compensated Reduction proposal", states Paulo Moutinho, Scientist and Coordinator of the Climate Change Program of the Amazon Institute for Environmental Research (IPAM), a non-governmental research institute in Brazil. CR would help Brazil offset the costs of slowing deforestation rates. In Brazil, the cost of reducing deforestation emissions by half will be less than $5 per ton of carbon dioxide, as estimated in an unpublished study of IPAM and the Woods Hole Research Center.

The CR proposal may be far more urgent than the Science paper would suggest, since tropical deforestation rates will probably increase in the coming years as worldwide demand for biofuel and grain pushes agriculture deeper into tropical forests.

"Slowing tropical deforestation wont, by itself, solve the climate problem," said Dr. Peter Frumhoff, co-author and organizer of the study and Director of Science and Policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "But for many developing countries, it is their largest source of emissions. Climate policymakers have a historic opportunity to help developing countries find economically viable alternatives to deforestation and participate in the global effort to address climate change."


Contact: Elizabeth Braun
Woods Hole Research Center

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