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Foster Brown, "Maintaining Forest Cover and Biodiversity in Amazonia"

Presented at the Restoring Water Cycles to Reverse Global Warming conference October 16th-18th, 2015 at Tufts University.


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Foster Brown, "Maintaining Forest Cover and Biodiversity in Amazonia"

  2. 2. The Amazon is big – 6 million square kilometers - but how big is that? http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/BlueMarble/Images/BlueMarble_2005_SAm_09_4096.png Rio Branco Manaus Belem Lima
  3. 3. The Amazon is the size of the continental US and diverse. Perhaps it helps to talk about the various Amazons. P. Lefevbre, WHRC
  4. 4. One of those: The Southwestern Amazon where Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru meet – the MAP Region, the size of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut, combined. Rio Branco Peru Bolivia Brazil P. Lefevbre, WHRC
  5. 5. MAP Region map Acre, Brazil Madre de Dios, Peru Pando, Bolivia The trinational MAP Region CobijaIñapari Brasileia Beni Puerto Maldonado
  6. 6. A land of climate extremes in the last ten years 2005-2015  Severe droughts and forest fires: 2005 and 2010  Flooding: State of Emergency in Rio Branco: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, the last seven years.  Flooding in Madeira River in 2014: reduced truck traffic by 90% during two months.  Heat wave in 2015: July-August-September 30+ days with peak temperatures above 35º C (95º F) in Rio Branco, Acre.
  7. 7. 2005 and 2010: two ´one-in-a-century´ droughts with epicenters in southwestern Amazonia. 2005 2010
  8. 8. In 2005, the prolonged drought changed the forests from fire barriers to kindling.  Results for old-growth rainforests with canopy-damage:  1. Acre, Brazil - more than 3,000 square kilometers  2. Pando, Bolivia - more than 1,000 square kilometers  3. Madre de Dios, Peru more than 200 square kilometers  Extensive fires in pastures, agricultural lands and agroforestry systems
  9. 9. Noon, Acrelândia, Acre 17Sep05 Fire propagating within the forest
  10. 10. Example of what happened in 2005, 27Sep05 >1 km No access How to fight these fires?
  11. 11. o 5Oct05 Near Xapuri, Acre A forest with its canopy affected by fire
  12. 12. Xapuri, Acre 21Aug05 Before fire propagated into the forest 5 km Xapuri CBERS_180_112 UFAC/PZ/SETEM/WHRC 30out05
  13. 13. After propagation, Xapuri, Acre 12Oct05 5 kmXapuri CBERS_180_112 UFAC/PZ/SETEM/WHRC 30out05
  14. 14. Eastern Acre, Oct 2005: > 300,000 ha of forests impacted by fires. Rio Branco Xapuri
  15. 15. These fires can last for weeks and produce their own fuel. Triunfo, Plácido de Castro, Acre, 09Sep06.
  16. 16. Forest ready for a second fire. Acrelândia, Acre. 17Sep05
  17. 17. Hot coals can last for days/weeks in tree truncks
  18. 18. Smoke concentrations in late September 2005 >> 25 ug m-3 MAP Region Smoke 20Sept05
  19. 19. Lessons from 2005 and past droughts for fire cycles  2-3 months without significant rain can allow forest fires to advance into old-growth rainforests.  This time is apparently becoming shorter due to higher temperatures.  The 1925-26 drought lasted for 7-8 months in Acre. A repeat would be disastrous with the greater number of ignition points set by slash-and-burn agriculturalists and cattle ranchers.  We need to change human behavior in relation to fire during prolonged droughts or face wide-spread forest fires in southwestern Amazonia.
  20. 20. Photo: Sergio Vale 28mar14 BR-364, Rondonia, Brazil And then there were floods. THE MAJOR HIGHWAY, BR-364, CONNECTING THE MAP REGION AND SOUTHERN BRAZIL IN 2014
  21. 21. In the last seven years, Rio Branco has declared states of emergency in every one of them for flooding. But the most dramatic have been in 2012 and 2015. 2015 was a repeat of 2012, but on steroids.
  22. 22. Flood in Iñapari, Madre de Dios, Peru, 16 Feb 2012. The headwaters of the Acre River. Iñapari, 17:25, 16feb12 Via Mercedes Perales.
  23. 23. Mayor’s office , Iñapari, 18feb12
  24. 24. Cobija, Pando, Bolivia – fev12 Foto A. Lima
  25. 25. Rio Branco, fev12. Foto: Sergio Vale
  26. 26. Impact in Brasileia, Acre. 2012 Foto: Carlos Portela
  27. 27. A Gazeta, 28fev12. “Acre faces its worst natural disaster in its history”, declares [Senator] Jorge Viana. That was in 2012, it got worse in 2015. Paradigm shift from building to rebuilding/recovery.
  28. 28. This the second floor of a house in Brasileia, Acre. 24feb15
  29. 29. Marcus Alexandre, Mayor of Rio Branco on 28 Mar13: “We haven’t recovered from last year’s flooding and now with have another.” = loss of Resilience After the flood of 2015 – “it will take 5 years to recover.” (but it floods every year.)
  30. 30. Then in 2014, the flooding of the Madeira River isolated the MAP Region from southern Brazil for two months.
  31. 31. Where did the wáter come from? Puerto Maldonado, Peru upstream Madre de Dios River – Worst flooding in 50 years. 6fev14.
  32. 32. Rains in the Beni, Bolivia. Loss of 100+ thousand head of cattle. http://www.eldeber.com.bo/EL-DEBER-Rural/edr.php?id=140224002108
  33. 33. http://www.erbol.com.bo/noticia/economia/06032014/290_mil_cabezas_de_ganado_mueren _por_lluvias_e_inundaciones_en_el_beni Beni, Bolivia
  34. 34. http://maisro.com.br/por-questoes-politicas-midia-brasileira-ignora- tragedia-climatica-na-bolivia/ Beni, Bolivia – This water drained into the Madeira River
  35. 35. Highway Br-364 in late march 2014 Carretera BR-364 Rondonia www.jorgeviana.com.br 19mar14
  36. 36. Reduction of transportation up to 90% Sergio Vale, ASCOM-AC, mar14
  37. 37. Things are serious when it is necessary to ration beans. Supermercado Mesquita, Conj. Tucumã, RB. 13Apr14.
  38. 38. We have a lot of problems in the MAP Region related to climate already and more on the way.
  39. 39. Proliferating dams in SW Amazonia: 150 planned dams of >2 MW over next 20 years. Finer, Matt, and Clinton N. Jenkins. “Proliferation of Hydroelectric Dams in the Andean Amazon and Implications for Andes- Amazon Connectivity.” PLOS ONE 7, no. 4 (April 18, 2012). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035126. Rio Branco
  40. 40. Nature 502, no. 7470 (October 10, 2013): 183–187. …”Here we present a new index of the year when the projected mean climate of a given location moves to a state continuously outside the bounds of historical variability under alternative greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Using 1860 to 2005 as the historical period, this index has a global mean of 2069 (±18 years s.d.) for near-surface air temperature under an emissions stabilization scenario and 2047 (±14 years s.d.) under a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario. Unprecedented climates will occur earliest in the tropics and among low-income countries,…” http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/mora/PublicationsCopyRighted/Data.html
  41. 41. Rio Branco: departure date: 2019-2024 or 5 to 10 years. The MAP Region has departure dates for a ‘new climate’ in a few years.
  42. 42. Acre and the MAP Region will become a Amazonian epicenter for climate change and impacts ANOTHER METAPHOR: ACRE AS THE CANARY IN THE AMAZONIAN CLIMATE MINE. http://www.academia.dk/Blog/a-canary-in-a-coal-mine-in- the-19th-century-and/
  43. 43. Abstract submitted to AGU Session on Extreme events in Amazonia: how to adapt and mitigate – December 205, San Francisco, CA, USA  The Challenges from Extreme Climate Events for Sustainable Development in Amazonia: the Acre State Experience  Dra. Maria de Nazareth Araújo Lambert, Vice-Governor, State of Acre  ”… For the last 17 years, successive state administrations have been implementing a socio-environmental model of development that strives to link sustainable economic production with environmental conservation, particularly for small communities. In this context, extreme climate events have interfered significantly with this model, increasing the risks of failure. …”
  44. 44. A little side track into philosophy and framing.
  45. 45. Problemology and Solutionology  My training and its underlying paradigms are in problemology – defining the problem.  It is an essential step, but an incomplete one. Society wants solutions.  Nevertheless, how you define problems affects how you look for solutions.
  46. 46. https://www.google.com/search?q=paradigm&oq=pa&aqs=chrome.0.69i59l2j69i60j69i61j69i60j69i57.9386j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8 synonyms: model, (…) prototype, archetype "why should your sets of values be the paradigm for the rest of us?" par·a·digm ˈperəˌdīm/ noun 1.1. technical a typical example or pattern of something; a model.
  47. 47. http://consumercentric.biz/wordpress/?p=106 Paradigms are part of our world view. They are inventions of the human mind. What paradigms do que need to change? What are enduring? Note that the world didn´t change, only the chick´s perception of it.
  48. 48. Central to this Conference: restoration of small water cycles and climate – a paradigm shift.
  49. 49. A phrase attributed to G.E. Hutchinson by Tom Lovejoy: “What is right about this paper?” And what applies to the Amazon?
  50. 50. Circulation of water over the Amazon.
  51. 51. Arraut et al. 2011. Aerial Rivers and Lakes: looking at large scale moisture transport, its relation to Amazonia and to Subtropical Rainfall in South America. Journal of Climate.
  52. 52. Biotic Pump Concept – Submitted to Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics in 2010, published in 2013.
  53. 53. But not without controversy – a rare editor comment published with the paper. see http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/10/24015/2010/acpd-10-24015-2010- discussion.html  Editor Comment. The authors have presented an entirely new view of what may be driving dynamics in the atmosphere. This new theory has been subject to considerable criticism … (3) The handling editor (and the executive committee) concluded to allow final publication of the manuscript in ACP, in order to facilitate further development of the presented arguments, which may lead to disproof or validation by the scientific community.
  54. 54. 14 March 2005 GOES Image www.cptec.inpe.br 54
  55. 55. Dry season: pasture lower evapotranspiration than the forests 05out05 Leste do Acre Water vapor from forest Water vapor from pasture 55
  56. 56. Regional climate change where rains are reduced by deforestation. Maintain forests is to maintain evapotranspiration, an ecosystem service. Mainstream science, but not incorporated in Brazilian public policy. SCIENCE 2008 2050 tendencial 2050 Leis
  57. 57. Is this already occurring?  Increased flow from the Araguaia River 25% in two decades 80/89 a 90/99 - 2/3 due to deforestation (note paradigm change) 2011 Biogeochemistry DOI 10.1007/s10533-011-9582-2
  58. 58. A paradigm shift for Amazonia – loss of forest = loss of rainfall = loss of agricultural productivity.
  59. 59. Other things are also changing.
  60. 60. Current state of knowledge: don´t deforest or you lose water. But message is seeping in slowly to policy makers and the public. Biotic pump concept will take even more time.
  61. 61. Recently published estimates of deforested area in Amazonia. http://raisg.socioambiental.org/deforestacion-en- la-amazonia-1970-2013  About 6 million square kilometers of forest cover.  Loss from 1970 to 2013: 13% of the forest, but at an accelerating rate from 2000.  In other words, most of the Amazon forest is still there – a focus on preservation/conservation  But what about restoration, is there a place in the Amazon?
  62. 62. A place for restoration? Yes! 13 percent of 6 million square kilometers is 780,000 km2, about the combined size of California and Montana. And the area is growing every year.
  63. 63. An example: Eastern Acre, Brazil.
  64. 64. http://raisg.socioambiental.org/system/files/DEFORESTACION_AMAZONIA_capa.jpg ACRE Rio Branco
  65. 65. Eastern Acre, Brazil, deforested area is the size of Connecticut. http://raisg.socioambiental.org/system/files/DEFORES TACION_AMAZONIA_capa.jpg Rio Branco
  66. 66. Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler. – Attributed to Albert Einstein, but apparently simplified*. A synonym for Holistic is complex. For climate change there is no  *Probably derived from: “It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.” (1933, Herbert Spencer Lecture.
  67. 67. 71% of the Earth, the ocean, is already hydrated. http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/research-of-andrew-wittenberg Pacific Ocean
  68. 68. <16% -croplands, savannas, shrublands where hydration of landscapes are possible (Loveland et al. 2000) 361, 71% 79.46; 16% 66.4, 13% Surface area of Earth in millions km2 oceans Crops/Sav Forests/ice T. R. Loveland , B. C. Reed , J. F. Brown , D. O. Ohlen , Z. Zhu , L. Yang & J. W. Merchant (2000) Development of a global land cover characteristics database and IGBP DISCover from 1 km AVHRR data, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 21:6-7, 1303-1330, DOI: 10.1080/014311600210191
  69. 69. The impact of terrestrial water storage on sea-level rise 3.2 cm (1961-2003)  …We find that, together, unsustainable groundwater use, artificial reservoir water impoundment, climate-driven changes in terrestrial water storage and the loss of water from closed basins have contributed a sea-level rise of about 0.77 mm yr−1 between 1961 and 2003, about 42% of the observed sea-level rise. We note that, of these components, the unsustainable use of groundwater represents the largest contribution. Pokhrel, Yadu N., Naota Hanasaki, Pat J-F. Yeh, Tomohito J. Yamada, Shinjiro Kanae, and Taikan Oki. “Model Estimates of Sea-Level Change due to Anthropogenic Impacts on Terrestrial Water Storage.” Nature Geosci 5, no. 6 (June 2012): 389–92. doi:10.1038/ngeo1476.
  70. 70. Who is doing holistic thinking at a global scale? Who could bring together the links of a chain, emissionaries, wáter cyclists, etc. A former bouncer once known as Jorge Bergoglio has come up with something. O Pensador, Rodin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thinker
  71. 71. Paragraph 3. “Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet… In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.“ I am not Catholic, but felt included.
  72. 72. We need to join the links, Pope Francis says: 14. I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. …Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. …We require a new and universal solidarity. …All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.
  73. 73. The most important links in the chain are not the strongest ones, but the ones that are missing or weak. What ones are lacking for climate change and rehydrating landscapes? http://www.csp.org.uk/frontline/article/missing-links-cancer-rehabilitation-strategy- overhauled-england
  74. 74. Conclusions and ruminations  The Amazon basin is big, diverse, and with growing extreme climate events.  As a consequence, the Amazon is in both the preservation and restoration stages.  Paradigm shifts are occurring that change the framing of problems and solutions.  Water is better than carbon to mobilize local and regional efforts to address climate change.  Small water cycle paradigm is critical, but can create expectations of a silver bullet, it is part of a bigger effort.  Big problems need big ideas for solutions: Laudato Si – an example.
  75. 75. We are together on this journey. Foster Brown WHRC/UFAC/CMDD/LBA fbrown@uol.com.br Tele: 55-68-9984-0336 Going up Envira River Feijo, Acre 08mai11