AN Amazon Perspective on the Forest-Climate Connection: Opportunity for Climate Mitigation, Conservation and Development?

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Amazonia contains more carbon (C) than a decade of global, human-induced CO2 emissions (60–80 billion tons). This C is gradually being released to the atmosphere through deforestation. Projected increases in Amazon deforestation associated with investments in road paving and other types of infra-structure may increase these C emissions. An increase of 25–40% in Amazon deforestation due to projected road paving could counterbalance nearly half of the reductions in C emissions that would be achieved if the Kyoto Protocol were implemented. Forecasted emission increases could be curtailed if development strategies aimed at controlling frontier expansion and creating economic alternatives were implemented. Given ancillary benefits and relative low costs, reducing deforestation in Amazonia and other tropical areas could be an attractive option for climate mitigation. Projects that help contain deforestation and reduce frontier expansion can play an important role in climate change mitigation but currently are not allowed as an abatement strategy under the climate regime. Creating incentives for forest conservation and decreased deforestation can be a unique opportunity for both forest conservation and climate mitigation.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.