Hunters have already invaded the area. Research camps have been raided and equipment has been stolen. Last year, several study sites were burned by colonists. “The stakes are very high,” said Laurance. “It’s not just the fragmentation project that’s threatened but also other scientific sites operated by Brazilian and other organizations, as well as critical conservation areas in the region.”
Since 1979, the project has hosted hundreds of scientists and students from around the world, working to understand how habitat fragmentation affects the complex Amazonian rainforest. Located two hours north of Manaus, Brazil, the project’s study area spans 1,000 square kilometers and is home to an abundance of large rainforest animals, such as jaguars, pumas, tapirs and harpy eagles, which are quickly hunted out of unprotected forests.
Now, SUFRAMA (Superintendencia da Zona Franca de Manaus, the Manaus duty free zone oversight commission), which manages a large expanse of central Amazonia, plans to establish colonization projects both inside the study area and across the region. Altogether, many thousands of people could be settled in what is now rainforest.
“There is really not much to be gained economically from these colonization projects, and there is so much to lose,” said Thomas Lovejoy, President of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, D.C., who conceived and helped to establish the fragmentation project more than 25 years ago. “In fact, the results of the science we’re doing could be more profitable for Brazil. Intact forests could have great economic value in the long term for the purpose of stabilizing global climate and for conserving biodiversity.”
The scientists emphasize that such Brazilian agencies as the Ministry for the Environment and IBAMA, the national environmental agency, have been helpful and sympathetic; but they have struggled to get the attention of SUFRAMA, despite years of behind-the-scenes negotiations.
“We appreciate that SUFRAMA is mainly concerned with economic development,” said Laurance, “but the economic benefit of the colonization projects is very low. The forest is just being burned to make charcoal or low-quality cattle pasture. And it’s a notoriously hard life for the colonists, who struggle to eke out a living in an area with many diseases but far from any medical services.”
Luizão agrees. “We are hoping that SUFRAMA can partner with us to help promote a real vision for sustainable development in the central Amazon. We believe that economic progress can proceed without causing irreversible harm to science and the environment. Our goal is not to confront SUFRAMA, but we are desperate. This is a cry for help.”
Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
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