The Amazon Rainforest
“This is not about protecting the forest simply to please environmentalists. The living forest is essential for the survival of human civilization."
At Ad Vitam we have a special love and concern for the Amazon Rainforest, not only because it is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, famed for its biodiversity, but also because we understand the profound role it plays on our planet, especially in terms of environmental sustainability, rainfall and high carbon stocks.
Below is an excerpt of a report of the 2016 study by scientist Carlos Nobre, published in the scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), that makes it very clear why action for preservation has to be taken now.
"The Amazonian tropical forests have been disappearing at a fast rate in the last 50 years 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.”
"The prevailing model for rural development in the Amazon over the last half century—replacing forests with agriculture, cattle ranching, and large-scale hydropower generation—has long been outdated for a number of environmental, economic, and social reasons.”
"We argue therefore that there is a “Third Way” within reach that sees the Amazon as a global public good of biological assets and biomimetic designs that can enable the creation of innovative high-value products, services, and platforms for current and for entirely new markets."
We must recognize environmental limits, value the services that ecosystems provide and establish limits of living and natural systems to guarantee their resilience and health long-term. This in turn becomes the basis for sustainable living on Earth.
Awareness is the first step and knowledge comes next. On this page you can find articles that outline the complexity of issues that need to be addressed and we also list organizations that you can support for solution-oriented efforts.
Team Ad Vitam
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE AMAZON
AMAZON UNDER THREAT: FIRES, LOGGERS AND NOW VIRUS
Deforestation jumped 55% in the first four months of 2020 compared with the same period last year, as people have taken advantage of the crisis to carry out illegal clearances.
THE AMAZONIAN INTELLIGENCE
"What do the trees, insects, and cultural traditions of the Amazon have to do with blockchain and DNA sequencing? Everything, according to a group of international scientists proposing a new way to save the world’s largest rainforest."
A BLOODY JANUARY FOR BRAZIL'S INDIGENOUS KAIOWA
Attacks on indigenous Kaiowá communities in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul at the start of the year have highlighted a long-running campaign of persecution and growing violence against the group.
AMAZON COULD TURN FROM CARBON SINK TO SOURCE
A new study finds that the Brazilian Amazon could be moving from being a carbon storehouse to a carbon source — putting the regional and global climate at great risk. Intensifying wildfires could contribute to that shift happening by mid-century.
THE LARGEST RIVER ON EARTH IS INVISIBLE
On a typical sunny day in the Amazon, 20 billion metric tons of water flow upward through the trees and pour into the air, an invisible river that flows through the sky across a continent.
SCIENTISTS WARN OF AN AMAZON 'TIPPING POINT'
Deforestation and other fast-moving changes in the Amazon threaten to turn parts of the rainforest into savanna, devastate wildlife and release billions of tons carbon into the atmosphere, two renowned experts warned Friday.
FROM ENVIRONMENTAL LEADER TO DESPOILER
Brazil’s ruralist agribusiness interests consolidated power, first under Temer, and more so under Bolsonaro, launching multiple attacks on indigenous and traditional land rights. Bolsonaro’s anti-environmental and anti-indigenous policies are a mark of his administration, a trend expected to continue in 2020.
THE FOREST IS LOSING ITS CARBON SEQUESTATION
Antonio Donato Nobre fears the forest is nearing what he describes as a “tipping point,” after which it will no longer be able to regenerate on its own, thus embarking on the path to desertification. “This is not about protecting the forest simply to please environmentalists. The living forest is essential for the survival of human civilization,” he says.
DEFORESTATION RISES TO 11 YEAR HIGH IN BRAZIL
Official data published today by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute INPE shows deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon between August 1, 2018 and July 31, 2019 amounted to 9,762 square kilometers, an increase of 30 percent over last year.
THE AMAZON IS COMPLETELY LAWLESS
For months, black clouds had hung over the rainforest as work crews burned and chain-sawed through it. Now the rainy season had arrived, offering a respite to the jungle and a clearer view of the damage to the world.
BLOOD GOLD IN THE BRAZILIAN RAINFOREST
“Letting prospectors into the Kayapo reserve is like leaving your children in the protection of a drug gang,” Barbara Zimmerman, a Canadian ecologist who has worked with the Kayapo for three decades, told me. In the past few years, according to environmentalists, several hundred thousand acres of the reserve have been destroyed or degraded by illegal mining and logging.
THE SECOND DEATH OF DOROTHY STANG
Doti, as she was known, had been receiving death threats since the early 2000s. The 73-year-old Catholic nun, born in Dayton, Ohio, arrived in Brazil in 1966. At the time of her death, she was fighting for a program that set aside land for poor families, giving them a guaranteed income so long as they preserved the forest.
PROS AND CONS IN A REDD+ CARBON CREDIT SCHEME
To safeguard the almost 90 percent of its land still covered with forest, the small Brazilian state of Acre implemented a carbon credit scheme that assigns monetary value to stored carbon in the standing trees and rewards local “ecosystem service providers” for their role protecting it.
THE INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE
"The challenges faced by Brazil’s indigenous peoples, both on the dirt ground of their villages and in the nation’s halls of power, have led to repeated denouncements domestically and abroad. The existence of 305 ethnicities, speaking 274 different languages, with a variety of ways of life and views of the universe, is one of Brazil’s biggest treasures.
WHAT THE PEOPLE OF THE AMAZON KNOW
"The greatest and most endangered species in the Amazon rainforest is not the jaguar or the harpy eagle," says Mark Plotkin, "It's the isolated and uncontacted tribes." In an energetic and sobering talk, the ethnobotanist brings us into the world of the forest's indigenous tribes and the incredible medicinal plants that their shamans use to heal.