ATBC further highlighted Brazil's lesser-known, but highly important ecosystems, which in some cases haven't experienced the progress seen in the Amazon. The deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon has fallen by nearly 80 percent since 2004.
"Brazil must be commended for the drop in Amazon deforestation," said Kirsten Silvius of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. "But other important ecosystems -- the Atlantic forest, cerrado, caatinga, pantanal, and pampas grasslands -- have not received the same level of attention. Indeed, the cerrado is being converted at a more than twice the rate of the Amazon and is at extreme risk from synergistic interactions between fragmentation, climate change and fire."
"The world is still losing forests at a rapid pace, which as a tropical biologist, is a huge concern to me," said Susan Laurance. "Brazil can offer a positive model for other tropical countries but also for its other ecosystems."
The declaration notes Brazil has shown both vision and leadership in investing in higher education and research, and now boasts world-class institutes and scientists in many areas of scientific endeavor. Its development of satellite technology for monitoring the Amazon has been central to setting and meeting of targets for reducing deforestation.
"We urge that the same vision is extended to other ecosystems to ensure long-term environmentally sustainable stewardship," stated the declaration. "New mechanisms are needed to ensure that vital scientific information is incorporated into decision-making processes from the start."
"Brazil has the once in a lifetime opportunity to lead the world on the environment. It has a wealth of scientific capacity and resources available to develop evidence-based policy," said Toby Gardner. "It shouldn't pass up this opportunity."
|Contact: Jose Fragoso|