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Title: Monitoring needs to transform amazonian forest maintenance into a global warming-mitigation option
Authors: Fearnside, Philip Martin
Keywords: Carbon Dioxide Mitigation
Carbon Offset
Carbon Sequestration
Developing Region
Emissions Control
Environmental Monitoring
Forest Management
Global Warming
Greenhouse Gas
Tropical Forest
Brazil, Amazonia
Issue Date: 1997
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 2, Número 2-3, Pags. 285-302
Abstract: Two approaches are frequently mentioned in proposals to use tropical forest maintenance as a carbon offset. One is to set up specific reserves, funding the establishment, demarcation, and guarding of these units. Monitoring, in this case, consists of the relatively straightforward process of confirming that the forest stands in question continue to exist. In Amazonia, where large expanses of tropical forest still exist, the reserve approach has the logical weakness of being completely open to "leakage": with the implantation of any given reserve, the people who would have been deforesting in the reserve area will probably continue to clear the same amount of forest somewhere else in the region. The second approach is through policy changes aimed at reducing the rate of clearing, but not limited to specific reserves or areas of forest. This second approach addresses more fundamental aspects of the tropical deforestation problem, but has the disadvantages of not assuring the permanence of forest and of not resulting in a visible product that can be convincingly credited to the existence of the project. In order for credit to be assigned to policy change projects, functioning models of the deforestation process must be developed that arc capable of producing scenarios with and without different policy changes. This requires understanding the process of deforestation, which depends on monitoring in order to have information as a time series. Information is needed both from satellite imagery and from on-thc-ground observations on who occupies the land and why the observed changes occur. Monitoring must be done by individual property if causal factors are to be identified reliably; this is best achieved using a database in a Geographical Information System (GIS) that includes property boundaries. Once policy changes arc made in practice, not only deforestation but also the policies themselves must be monitored. Decrees and laws are not the same as changes in practice; the initiation and continued application of changes must therefore be confirmed regularly. The value of carbon benefits from Amazonia depends directly on the credibility and transparency of monitoring. The great potential value of carbon maintenance in Amazonia should provide ample reason for Amazonian countries to strengthen and increase the transparency of their monitoring efforts. © 1997 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1007/BF02437209
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