The price of the Amazon’s protection
Current prices of avoided greenhouse gases emissions and other services provided by the forest – like erosion protection – aren’t valued enough yet to make it profitable for Brazilians to save their forests.
So to the study, developed countries would have to pay local populations to avoid the cutting of all these trees and the preservation of this beautiful region.
As the WWF notes:
Global payments for ecological services rendered by the Amazon such as the carbon retaining in its forests could go a long way to preserving them, a new study has found.
Keeping the Amazon forests standing: a matter of values, carried by the Copernicus Institute of the University of Utrecht on behalf of WWF, valued the avoided emissions from deforestation or degradation over large areas of the Amazon at between 55 and 78 euro per hectare per year.
These include erosion protection (up to 185 euro per hectare per year) , pollination services by rainforest insects (38 euro/$49 USD) per hectare per year in Ecuadorian coffee plantations), forest products such as honey, fruits and mushrooms (40-80 euro) and ecotourism (2.5 -5.5 Euro).
This compares to the returns from the production of commodities as beef and soya, the main Amazonian products imported by Europe. Soya generates 230 to 470 euro per hectare annually and cattle breeding adds up 40 to 115 euro per hectare per year
While the the major areas of Brazilian soya production are outside the Amazon, the economic interest for this commodity is adding to pressure in the region.
The WWF report shows that the revenue currently received from economic activities in which the natural environment remains intact is not high enough to offset the non-sustainable activities, but finding mechanisms to secure global payments for the forest’s ecological services would be a major impetus to both preserving the forest and paying for and providing for proper management.
The key emerging likely mechanism as the world tackles climate change is the s so-called REDD mechanism (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) where industrialised countries would pay for forest preservation and the combating of CO2 emissions in tropical countries.
The plans for this mechanism allow for large money flows to become available for sustainable forest management, which will also benefit local communities such as the native population of the Amazon region.
Johan van de Gronden, General Manager of WWF-Netherlands, comments: “REDD is not the only mechanism for the realisation of sustainable forest management, but certainly the one that is the most promising.’’
On the same topic, Treehugger recently noted that 80 percent of the deforestation can be credited to cattle pasture. Learn out more there.
It is perhaps time for Earth’s citizens to act in a global way.
My good friend Tim sent me last week an article he read on how wealthy citizens buy some land (rain forests around the globe) to protect them.
If you want to act too on that very topic by yourself, you can save an acre of Rainforest with the World Land Trust.