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illegal logging on Pirititi indigenous amazon lands with a repository of round logs on May 8, 2018 (Felipe Werneck/Ibama via flickr via AP)

21 May 2020: Amazon under threat: fires, loggers and now virus By Camilla Costa

 

The Amazon rainforest - which plays a vital role in balancing the world's climate and helping fight global warming - is also suffering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Deforestation jumped 55% in the first four months of 2020 compared with the same period last year, as people have taken advantage of the crisis to carry out illegal clearances.

Deforestation, illegal mining, land clearances and wildfires were already at an 11-year high and scientists say we're fast approaching a point of no return - after which the Amazon will no longer function as it should.

The largest and most diverse tropical rainforest in the world is home to 33 million people and thousands of species of plants and animals.

 

Since coronavirus spread to Brazil, in March, Amazonas has been the state to register Brazil's highest infection rates - it also has one of the most underfunded health systems in the country.

 

As elsewhere, social distancing and travel restrictions have been imposed to limit the spread of the virus.

But many of the field agents working to protect reserves have pulled out, Jonathan Mazower, of Survival International, says, allowing loggers and miners to target these areas.

In April, as the number of cases rose and states started adopting isolation measures, deforestation actually increased 64% compared with the same month in 2019, according to preliminary satellite data from space research agency INPE.

Last year, an unprecedented number of fires devastated huge swathes of forest in the Amazon. Peak fire season is from July which some experts worry could coincide with the peak of the coronavirus crisis.

The Brazilian authorities are deploying troops in the Amazon region to help protect the rainforest, tackle illegal deforestation and forest fires. But critics say that the government’s rhetoric and policies could actually be encouraging loggers and illegal miners.

Even before this year’s spike in deforestation, the rate across the nine Amazon countries had continued to rise.

Brazil and Bolivia were among the top five countries for loss of primary forest in 2018 and both saw a dramatic increase in wildfires last year.

But that is not the only problem.

"To only speak of deforestation when we refer to the loss of the Amazon is what I call "the great green lie"," says climate scientist Antonio Donato Nobre.

"The destruction of the Amazon rainforest up till now is much bigger than the almost 20% that they talk of in the media."

To get a more complete sense of the scale of the destruction, Mr Nobre says it is necessary to take into account the figures for degradation.

This happens when a combination of pressures on a stretch of forest - such as fires, logging or unlicensed hunting - make it hard for the ecosystem to function properly.

Even if an area does not lose all its trees and vegetation, degradation strips the rainforest of properties that are vital to the planet.

Scientists say that if we don't reverse current levels of deforestation and degradation, the consequences of climate change could accelerate.

The most common way of measuring deforestation is "tree cover loss" - where forest vegetation has been completely erased.

 

In 2018 alone, the tree cover loss in the Amazon reached four million hectares (40,000 sq km), according to Global Forest Watch.

Almost half of this was primary forest - 1.7 million hectares of forest that was still in its original state and rich in biodiversity. Its destruction was the same as three football pitches of virgin forest being destroyed every minute in 2018.

A football pitch is frequently used as a reference because, according to Fifa, the maximum size of a pitch is 1.08 hectares. However, some countries use smaller dimensions, which is why deforestation calculations can vary so much.

This may seem insignificant - only 0.32% of the forest in the whole Amazon biome - but it is also a question of quality.

"Each hectare deforested means part of the ecosystem ceases to function and this affects the rest," says Oxford University rainforest expert Erika Berenguer.

In the last 10 years, figures for primary forest loss have remained high or spiked in most of the Amazon nations.

 

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Categories: IBAMADeforestation in BrazilRoraima

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www.yahoo.com/news/brazil-withdraws-offer-host-un-climate...

This May 8, 2018 photo released by the Brazilian Environmental and Renewable Natural Resources Institute (Ibama) shows an illegally deforested area on Pirititi indigenous lands as Ibama agents inspect Roraima state in Brazil's Amazon basin. Scientists warn that Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro could push the Amazon rainforest past its tipping point by loosening environmental protections, with severe consequences for global climate and rainfall. (Felipe Werneck/Ibama via AP)

This May 8, 2018 photo released by the Brazilian Environmental and Renewable Natural Resources Institute (Ibama) shows an illegally deforested area on Pirititi indigenous lands as Ibama agents inspect Roraima state in Brazil's Amazon basin. Scientists warn that Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro could push the Amazon rainforest past its tipping point by loosening environmental protections, with severe consequences for global climate and rainfall. (Felipe Werneck/Ibama via AP)

 

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil has withdrawn its offer to host a large U.N. conference on climate change next year, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, leading environmental groups to question the government's commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

 

Brazil pulled its offer to host the 2019 climate change conference because of "the current fiscal and budget constraints, which are expected to remain in the near future," the foreign ministry said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

 

Environmental groups interpreted the decision as a nod to President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who promised during his campaign to pull Brazil out of the Paris accord on climate change.

 

Since being elected, Bolsonaro has publicly wavered on those promises. However, climate scientists have said Bolsonaro's stated intention to open the Amazon for greater development could make it impossible for Latin America's largest nation to meet its reduced emissions targets in the coming years.

 

Bolsonaro told reporters late Wednesday that he had recommended to the incoming foreign minister that Brazil not host the event.

 

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Even reduced-impact logging in the Amazon may be unsustainable

by Mike Gaworecki on 13 July 2016

Brazil accounts for 85 percent of all native neotropical forest roundlog production, but the sustainability of timber harvests beyond the initial, typically selective rounds of logging, remains poorly understood, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE today.

A team of researchers with the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK studied 824 harvest areas in private and community-owned forests scattered throughout the 124-million-hectare (more than 306-million-acre) Brazilian state of Pará, which is the source of almost half of all timber production in the Brazilian Amazon.

They say their results show that managing yields of selectively-logged forests is crucial for the long-term health of forest biodiversity as well as the financial viability of local industries.

Researchers in the Brazilian Amazon say they have found no evidence that the composition of timber species and total forest value recover even after highly selective logging, suggesting that the most commercially valuable species must inevitably become rare or even “economically extinct” in old logging frontiers.

 

Brazil accounts for 85 percent of all native neotropical forest roundlog production, but the sustainability of timber harvests beyond the initial, typically selective rounds of logging, remains poorly understood, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE today.

 

A team of researchers with the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK studied 824 harvest areas in private and community-owned forests scattered throughout the 124-million-hectare (more than 306-million-acre) Brazilian state of Pará, which is the source of almost half of all timber production in the Brazilian Amazon. The researchers analyzed data from legal logging operations that harvested some 17.3 million cubic meters of timber from 314 different tree species.

 

They say their results show that managing yields of selectively-logged forests is crucial for the long-term health of forest biodiversity as well as the financial viability of local industries. And these lessons don’t just apply to the Brazilian Amazon, they write in the study: “The logging history of eastern Amazonian old-growth forests likely mirrors unsustainable patterns of timber depletion over time in Brazil and other tropical countries.”

 

Trucks loaded with timber await the repair of a ferry used to cross the Curuá-Una river, close to Santarém, Pará State.Trucks loaded with timber await the repair of a ferry used to cross the Curuá-Una river, close to Santarém, Pará State. © Marizilda Cruppe / Greenpeace

Dr. Vanessa Richardson of UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, the lead author of the PLOS ONE study, says there are parallels between the impacts of supposedly sustainable logging and other slow-growing, commercially valuable species that have been overexploited throughout human history — “just look at the whaling industry or fisheries,” she said in a statement.

 

“Yet many tropical timber species are still thought of as a renewable resource,” Richardson added. “We are only beginning to see over-exploitation parallels in tree species. Our research shows that many high-value timber species are logged until their populations collapse altogether.”

 

However, over-exploitation is not inevitable, Richardson and her co-authors note in the study. Rather, over-exploitation is usually a consequence of inadequate regulation of industry combined with open-access systems such as forests, a dynamic that has been referred to as “the tragedy of the commons.”

 

Previous studies of Asian markets have found that current commercial agreements could lead to “peak timber” and widespread economic extinctions across tropical regions, Richardson said. “Our study adds a Neotropical body of evidence to support this. We can already see a market shift, in which loggers in old depleted Amazonian logging frontiers are forced to depend on fast growing, soft-wood timber species.”

 

Logging operations in tropical forests vary widely in the degree to which they can be deemed “sustainable,” but timber is generally considered a renewable resource, the study notes. But if forests never recover from the initial, selective cuts, that prevailing wisdom may now be seriously called into question.

 

The first rounds of logging tend to target valuable hardwood species, but when loggers can no longer depend on areas where these high-value species were formerly abundant, they are forced to extract timber trees from new areas of unlogged primary forests in order to see the same economic returns.

 

As a result, many valuable Amazonian timber tree species are facing moderate to high extinction risk, per the study, including a range of canopy and emergent species such as big-leaf mahogany, Brazil-nut tree, freijó cinza (Cordia goeldiana), ipê (Tabebuia serratifolia, T. impetiginosa), jatobá (Hymenaea courbaril), and pau amarelo (Euxylophora paraensis).

 

The authors of the PLOS ONE study write that they “urge national policy makers to curb the largely unchecked tide of widespread depletion of the most harvest-sensitive timber species.”

 

“Our analysis shows that even so-called ‘reduced-impact logging’ in tropical forests can rarely be defined as sustainable in terms of forest composition and dynamics in the aftermath of logging — never mind the greater susceptibility of logged forests to catastrophic fires,” Carlos Peres, a professor with UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences and a co-author of the study, said in a statement.

 

“Environmental licensing and market certification of logging concessions need to take this into account, and review minimum preconditions in terms of volumetric quotas of roundlogs harvested per species and regeneration standards over multi-decade logging cycles.”

 

CITATION

 

Richardson, V. & Peres, C. (2016). Temporal Decay in Timber Species Composition and Value in Amazonian Logging Concessions. PLOS ONE. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0159035

Article published by Mike Gaworecki

Amazon Conservation, Amazon Rainforest, Deforestation, Environment, Forestry, Forests, Logging, Rainforests, Reduced Impact Logging, Tropical Forests

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www.dict.cc/englisch-deutsch/round+log+of+wood.html

round log of wood Rollholz {n} hölzerne Rolle {f}

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24.August 2019:

 

www.spiegel.de/panorama/brasilien-mehr-als-1500-neue-wald...

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