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Workshop assesses interactions between climate, forests and land use in the Amazon Basin
Date:3/12/2008

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Throughout the workshop, scientists from the collaborating institutions gave short presentations of their current research, including work on the latest developments in the sophisticated computer programs required to address the fundamental questions of Amazonian ecological integrity and recent insights into the ways in which vegetation play an important role in the climate of the Amazon and the globe. Several important conclusions emerged from these talks and discussions: 1) clearing and forest fragmentation decreases local rainfall but only after a threshold of 100s km2 is deforested; 2) large scale deforestation of greater than 100,000 km2 appears to significantly decrease rainfall, not only where deforestation occurs, but over forested regions throughout the Amazon; and 3) the response of the river flow to deforestation is complicated and leads to unexpected results with decreased river flow in some streams and increased river flow in others depending on how much and where deforestation takes place.

Carlos Nobre, director of CPTEC, gave the closing address in which he emphasized the importance of focused investment in education and research to address this global issue. He outlined a program an ideal program that would create a Brazilian national program on Amazon ecology modeled after a one that has made Brazil one of the world leaders in the aerospace industry.

Michael Coe, an associate scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center and one of the workshop organizers, summarized, This workshop was important because it brought together conservation organizations, scientists and policy makers. The outcomes of this workshop will help us develop a blueprint for our research efforts in the coming years on what may be one of the most important environmental questions: What amount and location of forest is required to guarantee a healthy environment" This meeting will also help conservations organizations prepare for the future because as the
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Contact: Elizabeth Braun
ebraun@whrc.org
508-540-9900
Woods Hole Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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