Exploring Integrated Assessment Approaches
Edited by Desmond McNeill, Ingrid Nesheim and Floor Brouwer
Chapter 11: Road Development and Deforestation in Amazonia, Brazil
Saulo Rodrigues-Filho, Marcel Bursztyn, Diego Lindoso, Nathan Debortoli, Ingrid Nesheim and René Verburg PROBLEM DESCRIPTION The Amazon biome is the single largest continuous tropical rainforest, and one of the richest stock areas of biodiversity on Earth. This area is highly threatened by deforestation, which provokes genetic erosion and a great amount of greenhouse gas emissions. In Brazil the states of Mato Grosso and Pará are facing a conflict between agricultural expansion (largely due to an increase in the international demand for commodities) and conservation of forests, important for carbon storage. Since 1970, more of the Brazilian Amazonian forest has been destroyed than in the previous 450 years since the beginning of European colonization. By 2005 deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon had exceeded 690 000 km2, which accounts for 14 per cent of the whole biome, an area larger than France and Portugal together. Deforestation, especially of the Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado savannas, is the main Brazilian source of greenhouse gas emission (Cerri et al., 2009). This has generated 200 Mt of carbon emissions per year, or even more. As a result Brazil was the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 1995 and 2000 (Morgan et al., 2005). The present chapter analyses the cases of Mato Grosso (MT) and Pará (PA), the most deforested states of the Brazilian Amazon. An important share of this deforestation is concentrated along the sides of the highway BR-163 (Figure 11.1). This highway is partially paved as an effort made by the Mato Grosso...
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