Land-use and climate change risks in the Amazon and the need of a novel sustainable development paradigm

The Amazonian tropical forests have been disappearing at a fast rate in the last 50 y due to deforestation to open areas for agriculture, posing high risks of irreversible changes to biodiversity and ecosystems. Climate change poses additional risks to the stability of the forests. Studies suggest “tipping points” not to be transgressed: 4° C of global warming or 40% of total deforested area. The regional development debate has focused on attempting to reconcile maximizing conservation with intensification of traditional agriculture. Large reductions of deforestation in the last decade open up opportunities for an alternative model based on seeing the Amazon as a global public good of biological assets for the creation of high-value products and ecosystem services.

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