Fire occurrence rates in the Amazon have increased in 59% of areas with reduced deforestation and risks cancelling part of the carbon savings achieved by UN measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation.
New research led by the University of Exeter, published on Friday 4 June, in Science, analysed satellite deforestation and fire data from the Brazilian Amazon to understand the influence of United Nations REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) policy on fire patterns in Amazonia. The NERC (National Environment Research Council) funded research shows that fire incidences may increase even with a decrease in deforestation rates.
Amazonian farmers are prone to keeping agricultural land free of new growth by slash and burn methods, usually on a three to five yearly cycle. The extra carbon emitted by the leakage of fires from farms into surrounding forests edges and forest fragments as well as deforestation of forest regrowth, which are not accounted by the Brazilians deforestation monitoring system may therefore be partially negating carbon savings achieved through the UN REDD programme.
The research suggests that if sustainable fire-free land-management of deforested areas is not adopted in the UN-REDD programme, any carbon savings achieved by avoiding deforestation would be partially offset by increased emissions from fires.
The UN-REDD programme is a multi donor trust fund which provides appropriate revenue streams to the right people, making it worth their while to change their forest resources behaviour. The efficiency of the UN-REDD programme as a climate change mitigation strategy depends upon the stabilisation of deforestation and degradation of the worlds largest rainforest, the Amazon.
Dr Luiz Arago an Environmental Scientist at the School of Geography, University of Exeter said, Changes in fire frequency coul
|Contact: Esther White|
University of Exeter