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Mousehound
06-30-2009, 06:44 AM
ScienceDaily (June 30, 2009) Contrary to common belief, Brazil's policy of protecting portions of the Amazonian forest from development is capable of buffering the Amazon from climate change, according to a new study led by Michigan State University researchers.

The study, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, contends state and federal governments in Brazil have created a sustainable core of protected areas within the Amazon. And even if the remaining Brazilian Amazon is deforested, the climate will not significantly change thereby protecting the Amazon's ecosystems.

"The thought has been that if you deforest up to a certain point in the Amazon, the forest will completely lose the ability to recover its tropical vegetation that you will basically convert it to a desert, especially in the south and southeastern margins of the basin," said Robert Walker, MSU professor of geography and lead researcher on the project.

"But our research shows that if you protect certain areas of the Amazon, as the Brazilian government is currently doing, the forest will not reach a tipping point, which means we can maintain the climate with levels of deforestation beyond which was originally thought."

Roughly the size of the 48 contiguous states, the Amazon River Basin is home to the world's largest rainforest, most of it in Brazil, and is the largest freshwater source on Earth. The Amazon is made up of a wide variety of exotic plant and animal life, including macaws, jaguars, anteaters and anacondas.

In Brazil, the government has set aside about 37 percent of the Amazon basin as protected area, Walker said.

Meanwhile, about 17 percent of the Brazilian Amazon has been deforested since the opening of the basin to development in the mid-1960s, he said.

Critics warn the Amazon is close to a tipping point in which the continued stripping of forests will stem rainfall and turn the tropical region into scrubland. Because trees pull moisture from the ground and release it back into the atmosphere, leading to rainfall, cutting them down threatens this "vegetative recycling" process, Walker said.

"Some people think the tipping point is going to occur at 30 percent to 40 percent deforestation," Walker said. "Our results suggest this is not the case; that you can have quite a bit of deforestation perhaps up to 60 percent before you get to the crash point."

Please read the full article here:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090615171612.htm

Mousehound
06-30-2009, 06:46 AM
You know, I am really afraid that this study will be used as an excuse to destroy even more of the Rainforest.

Ought Six
06-30-2009, 03:43 PM
Most people are unaware that Brazil was able to have its 'ethanol miracle' by slashing and burning huge areas of Amazon rainforest to create sugar cane fields.

dharma
06-30-2009, 04:47 PM
And using what is basically slave labor.