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A description of the amazon basin called the last frontier

These services have a much greater value to human society than do the timber, beef and other products that are obtained by destroying the forest. Yet institutional mechanisms are still lacking to transform the value of the standing forest into the foundation of an economy based on maintaining rather than destroying this ecosystem. Forest management for commodities such as timber and non-timber forest products faces severe limitations and inherent contradictions unless income is supplemented based on environmenta lservices.

Amazon forest is threatened by deforestation, logging, forest fires and climate change. Measures to avoid deforestation include repression through command and control, creation of protected areas, and reformulation of infrastructure decisions and development policies. An economy primarily based on the value of environmental services is essential for long-term maintenance of the forest.

Much progress has been made in the decades since I first proposed such a transition, but many issues also remain unresolved. These include theoretical issues regarding accounting procedures, improved quantification of the services and of the benefits of different policy options, and effective uses of the funds generated in ways that maintain both the forest and the human population.

Amazonia, avoided deforestation, Brazil, carbon, deforestation, global warming, Greenhouse effect, rainforest. Sustainable activities such as rubber tapping and Brazilnut harvesting exist, but their relative importance is minimal from the standpoint of financial flows in today's economy.

In addition, the rate at which these uses can produce products sustainably is limited and often compares unfavorably with predatory uses, unless, that is, the value of environmental services can be incorporated into the income stream. Forest-management proponents tend to promise anything when a proposal is evaluated and licensed, but decades later when the first cycle of harvesting is complete the inherent contradictions must be faced and resolved if management is to continue in a sustainable way Fearnside 2003a.

In the first harvest cycle, large trees are being cut that have grown "for free'' over centuries prior to the initiation of management. This is inherently more profitable than subsequent cycles when harvesting approaches an equilibrium after which the manager only harvests what has grown while the sustainable management operation has been waiting and investing in the trees.

This transition represents a discontinuity with a risk of the land owner or manager abandoning the management plan in favor of either a predatory harvest or outright deforestation. Forest management has additional impediments to sustainability when the managers are small or medium in size - a problem for which both environmental and social implications are negative. A large firm can, if it chooses, foresee the end of a resource it is exploiting unsustainably and prepare a transition to some other resource.

A few of the major oil companies, for example, are beginning to reposition themselves as energy suppliers in a general sense and are looking for ways to shift their investments to sources other than oil.

By contrast, Amazonian sawmill owners who are usually relatively small-scale Brazilian entrepreneurs, not large a description of the amazon basin called the last frontier corporations are not likely to switch to something else before the resource they are exploiting comes to an end.

Within these Amazonian states, logging operations have often made a succession of moves from one frontier to the next. This gives reason to doubt the expectation that these sawmill operators will become converted to sustainable forest management, taking only the relatively modest harvests that can be cut without jeopardizing the system's sustainability.

A description of the amazon basin called the last frontier

Non-timber forest products In the case of non-timber forest products NTFPssuch as rubber and Brazil nuts, problems include inherent disadvantages of extractive systems as compared to plantations and the limits imposed by market saturation for many products if exploitation were scaled up to the areas available for management in Amazonia.

Additionally, more prosaic temptations are ever present to increase the intensity of harvesting beyond sustainable limits, to increase the population beyond what can be supported by the resources at hand, and to increase areas of clearing for agriculture and pasture within the extractive areas, obviously at the expense of forest. Environmental services were grouped into three categories: The hallmark of the proposal was its aim of tapping willingness to pay, as opposed to valuation of replacement costs or other indicators that serve as general illustrations of the fact that human societies depend on natural ecosystems.

One should note the difference with the concept of "ecosystem services'' Costanza et al. Discussion of ecosystem services has since evolved to focus on "payments for ecosystem services'' also "Payments for Environmental Services'' PES programs where governments usually local or national pay landholders a stipend for such services as watershed maintenance.

  1. Saving tropical forests as a global warming countermeasure.
  2. Search for the kid's last ride on amazoncom title. Wildlife The carnivorous piranhas are one of many species that inhabit the waters of the Amazon.
  3. Regional climate change over eastern Amazonia caused by pasture and soybean cropland expansion.
  4. A quantitative example is given in Fearnside et al. I am grateful for helpful reviewer comments.
  5. The most distant source of the Amazon has been firmly established as a glacial stream on a snowcapped, 18,363-foot 5,597-meter peak called Nevado Mismi in the Peruvian Andes, roughly 160 kilometers west of Lake Titicaca and 700 kilometers southeast of Lima, Peru. Mitig Adapt Strat Global Change 7.

A wide variety of studies and conservation projects have derived from this. During the Eco-92 or "Earth Summit'' in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 my proposal a description of the amazon basin called the last frontier monetary flows based on environmental services evolved into a broader plan to shift the basis of the economy that supports Amazonia's rural population, replacing the current destructive pattern Fearnside 1997b.

International negotiations have progressed the farthest in the case of compensating the forest's role in avoiding global warming, but the other services are no less important. In fact, it is the co-benefits of maintaining biodiversity and water, in addition to indigenous peoples and other traditional human inhabitants of the forest, which most clearly sets Amazonian conservation apart from other greenhouse mitigation options such as planting Eucalyptus e.

Geopolitical concerns resulted in the avoidance of tropical deforestation being excluded from receiving carbon credit in the period through 2012, but important parts of these concerns do not apply to negotiations currently underway for the period from 2013 onwards,making inclusion of this environmental service likely Fearnside 2001a, 2006a. Only a relatively small amount is recaptured by the pasture and secondary forests that subsequently occupy the landscape. In addition, the model runs used to generate the IPCC estimates i.

The precautionary principle would indicate that these higher potential temperature increases should be considered in policy making, underscoring the importance of immediate actions to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases, including those from Amazonian deforestation.

In the case of deliberate emission through deforestation, protected areas can have both short- and long-term effects. On the short term, creation of a reserve can cause a dramatic reduction in clearing by grileiros large illegal claimants who occupy public land and obtain titles through fraud and corruption.

The existence of a reserve greatly reduces the chance of grileiros or other invaders eventually gaining legal title, and therefore reduces the motive for clearing. Some of this activity can simply move to other locations an effect known as "leakage'' in the carbon literaturebut some of the reduction is a net gain.

Reserves have a measurable effect in decreasing deforestation Ferreira et al. In addition, the placement of reserves can act as a barrier inhibiting the advance of deforestation into areas beyond the reserve itself Fearnside 2003a. Degradation from climate change and fire can affect the entire forest, including that within protected areas. In addition to their role in slowing global warming by avoiding carbon emissions, reserves contribute to reducing degradation by maintaining the water-cycling functions of the forest.

Because much of the rainfall in Amazonia is water that has been recycled through the forest, especially in the critically important dry season, keeping substantial blocks of forest in reserves maintains the climatic conditions needed to maintain forest in the remainder of the region D'Almeida et al.

Predominant winds in Amazonia blow from east to west, meaning that forests lying to the west of reserves are the ones that benefit from the evapotranspiration of the trees in the reserve. Direct deforestation, by felling the forest with chainsaws, is the predominant cause of forest loss today.

The great majority of deforested land becomes cattle pasture, either directly following clearing or after a brief period of agricultural use for annual crops. Soybeans represent a recent addition to the forces driving deforestation. Soybeans are concentrated in certain locations in Amazonia, but they have a much more far-reaching effect on deforestation by providing the economic justification for major highway projects Fearnside 2001b, 2002a, 2007.

Roads are the primary force inducing the spread of deforestation Laurance et al. The continued expansion and improvement of the road network, together with the inflows of population and investment that the roads attract, point to continued increase in deforestation pressure in the coming years. This long-term trend is more fundamental than some of the forces that can cause fluctuations in the annual rate of deforestation, such as repression campaigns and price oscillations of beef and soybeans and of the exchange rate of the Brazilian real against the US dollar.

These short-term influences are relevant to the dip in Amazonian deforestation rate in 2005, 2006 and 2007, as well as to a ressurgence in Mato Grosso in 2007 when commodity prices began to recover Souza Jr.

Amazon River

The trend since 1991 has been one of steady increase, as would be expected from the increases in underlying factors such as roads, population and investment Laurance et al. Deforestation takes place in the context of a diverse array of actors, with great differences between locations in terms of who is responsible.

Cattle ranchers are the greatest force. In addition to ranching for the ''legitimate'' economy - producing beef for sale - there is also a significant parallel economy. Deforestation of at least part of the land claim is the primary means of maintaining possession of the area and defending theinvestment against either invasion by squatters or expropriation by the government.

Services on Demand

Clearing also takes place as a use for money that is "laundered'' when the funds are derived from illegal sources such as drug trafficking, government corruption, sale of stolen property and tax evasion. If money has come from an illegitimate source, the normal financial assumptions will not apply to the visible portion of the economy and more money may be spent than is returned in the form of beef sales.

The proceeds, however, will be "clean'' money that can be used in the open economy. Forest is also lost due to flooding from hydroelectric dams. In addition to directly flooding forest, hydroelectric projects have much wider impacts in stimulating road building, migration and deforestation Fearnside 1989c, 1999c, 2001c, 2005b, 2006b.

Logging is often a prelude to deforestation, facilitating clearing by providing access on logging roadsand by providing money to landholders through thesale of timber Asner et al. Logging alsogreatly increases the probability of forest fires Uhl and Buschbacher 1985, Alencar et al.

These initiate a vicious cycle where fire kills trees by burning the bark at the base of each trunk Barbosa and Fearnside 1999, Barlow et al. Next fire will be hotter and more destructive than the first one Nepstad et al. After about three passages of fire the forest is destroyed and will appear as deforested on satellite images Cochrane et al.

Several factors are not included in the models that wouldgreatly increase the damage, especially direct deforestation, logging and forest fires. Deforestation licensing combined with repression ofunlicensed clearing was sucessful in reducing deforestation rates in Mato Grosso over the 1999-2001 period, providing a valuable demonstration of the capacity of government regulation to influence deforestation rates Fearnside 2003b, Fearnside and Barbosa 2003.

In Brazilian Amazonia the demarcation of indigenous areas is particularly important because of the large area they cover and because of the role played by the indigenous peoples in actively defending their land from deforestation. This is a key part of the process that is not yet understood by many: A long-standing policy issue is the land-tenure regulation that bases the granting of title to untitled public lands on showing that the claimant has made a "benfeitoria'' literally an "improvement,'' which basically means deforestation.

The result is a built-in motive to clear regardless of what prohibitions or punishments may be enacted. Although many years have passed since this problem was raised Fearnside 1979it is still a fundamental driver of deforestation in the region. Another policy matter is agricultural financing, as government-subsidized credit is a major force behind expansion of both crops such as soybeans and more modest small-farmer agriculture.

On the side of slowing deforestation, a variety of policy measures a description of the amazon basin called the last frontier are largely ineffective are often presented as deforestation countermeasures.

  • Along with the Orinoco, the river is one of the main habitats of the Boto, also known as the Amazon River Dolphin;
  • For Ecol Manage 27;
  • Clearing also takes place as a use for money that is "laundered'' when the funds are derived from illegal sources such as drug trafficking, government corruption, sale of stolen property and tax evasion;
  • Plantation silviculture versus avoided deforestation;
  • For Ecol Manage 27;
  • Amazonian Rainforest Amazonian red-eyed tree frog.

For example, environmental education, while a worthwhile activity, is unlikely to be convince those who are actually cutting the forest. Another measure frequently invoked is agroforestry, but this land use is restrained from occupying very large areas by a variety of economic and physical limitations, and its role in discouraging forest clearing is limited Fearnside 1995b.

This land use also has an important potential role in Amazonia in providing a more sustainable form of agricultural production to small farmers Smith et al.

The role of urbanization in reducing is controversial. Wright and Muller-Landau 2006 have suggested that this trend could significantly slow deforestation, but this has been strongly contested Laurance 2006, Sloan 2007.

The Manaus Free Trade Zone SUFRAMAwhich receives federal fiscal incentives as a policy decision to develop Amazonia, is claimed by the Amazonas state government as an effective break on deforestation due to the city's attraction of rural population. Certification of various production activities has been proposed as a mitigation measure, but the results have been mixed.

In this case a certified activity can lead to more rather than less deforestation because the profitability of additional deforestation on many unregulated ranches in the surrounding area will also increase due to the presence of the slaughterhouse, leading to more deforestation.

Nevertheless, certification initiatives for soybeans, beef and timber all have potential benefits in bringing these sectors into compliance with environmental laws and in minimizing their impacts e.

However, a variety of effects prevent this from assuming the desired role of slowing the loss of natural forest Fearnside 1990. A similar intensification of ranching Batjes and Sombroek 1997 also faces resource limits Fearnside and Barbosa 1998. Payment for environmental services PES programs in Costa Rica and Mexico are the ones with the most practical experience out of many such programs that have recently been initiated in tropical countries Karaousakis 2006, 2007.

  1. The program depends on the budget of the Ministry of the Environment and has frequently not had funds available to pay the farmers as promised, therefore leading to a loss of credibility with local populations in the 13 pilot sites in Amazonia. Near the mouth of the Rio Negro to Serpa, nearly opposite the river Madeira, the banks of the Amazon are low, until approaching Manaus, they rise to become rolling hills.
  2. Have we overstated the tropical biodiversity crisis? Predominant winds in Amazonia blow from east to west, meaning that forests lying to the west of reserves are the ones that benefit from the evapotranspiration of the trees in the reserve.
  3. Louis of the Amazon. These services have a much greater value to human society than do the timber, beef and other products that are obtained by destroying the forest.
  4. A proposal for a unified index.

Such programs are often criticized for paying the rich landholders instead of using government funds for more socially desirable ends that would reduce the inequalities in wealth distribution Zbinden and Lee 2005, Grieg-Gran et al. In addition, the programs are often paying ranchers and other actors who have beendestroying the forest, while traditional forest peoples who have much less impact are left with no reward for the environmental services of the forest.

The Proambiente program is designed to compensate the environmental services of small farmers who adopt agroforestry systems and maintain the carbon stocks in their properties Mattos et al. The program depends on the budget of the Ministry of the Environment and has frequently not had funds available to pay the farmers as promised, therefore leading to a loss of credibility with local populations in the 13 pilot sites in Amazonia. In this program the state government pays a description of the amazon basin called the last frontier "forest stipend'' bolsa floresta to small farmers and extractivists in state-owned land in exchange for a signed commitment to refrain from deforestation Viana and Campos 2007.

It should be noted, however, that the Amazonas state secretariat of rural production SEPROR hopes to increase manioc production by farmers in the state to make Amazonas self-sufficient in this dietary staple. In the case of the global-warming mitigation, the value attributed to the deforestation that is averted by an action such as creation of a forest reserve is heavily dependent on decisions regarding the value of time.

Time can be given value in various ways in carbon calculations: I have argued that the value attributed to reserve creation will depend on whether the reserves are created near the deforestation frontier, where reserves that can be created are smaller and their cost higher but their benefit is almost immediate. If reserves are created far from the frontier, they are large and inexpensive but their carbon benefit will only occur at a future date when the deforestation frontier reaches the area.