Friday, December 3

WWF joins more than 200 scientists to demand “urgent protection” of the Amazon

The World Wide Fund for Nature-WWF has joined more than 200 scientists in demanding “Urgent protection” of the Amazon which, in his opinion, is “on the edge of a catastrophic turning point.” The organization has thus joined the first analysis that provides detailed, complete and holistic findings on the Amazon basin, carried out by more than two hundred scientists, in the final stretch of COP26.

A) Yes, the Amazon Assessment Report of the Scientific Panel for the Amazon, supported by WWF, recommends an immediate ban on forest clearing throughout the southern Amazon, which comprises 2 million km2 of tropical rainforest from southern Peru, Bolivia, northern Mato Grosso and southern Pará, states of Brazil, to the Atlantic. In addition, it calls for zero deforestation and forest degradation in the entire region before 2030.

For WWF, this will require solutions to deal with fires that have affected Amazonian forests in recent years, the protection of indigenous communities and the development of a sustainable economy.

The Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of WWF, Roberto Troya, has stated that “this report is a rigorous assessment of the rapidly advancing threats in the region, particularly with regard to new and alarming developments related to the probability of an imminent tipping point.” “The Amazon is extraordinarily unique and irreplaceable, and yet there is a pressing risk of losing it in the coming decades if nothing is done to stop its destruction,” he said.

The report, presented on the last day of COP26, warns that the region is approaching a potential catastrophic tipping point due to deforestation, degradation, forest fires and climate change. Recent evidence, which considers their combined effects, suggests that this threshold could be reached between 20 and 25% of deforestation. At present, 17% of the Amazonian forests have already been lost and at least an additional 17% has degraded.

The Amazon system is complex and, therefore, the future is hard to predict with certainty. But the evidence is clear that a future with cycles of reduced rainfall, fires and increased tree mortality is on the way, according to the report’s authors.

Therefore, they argue that crossing such a tipping point could result in a permanent loss of tropical rainforest and their conversion to dry degraded ecosystems with less tree cover. This sudden and possibly irreversible change could result in the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a sudden collapse of biodiversity and the loss of important wetlands, at high costs to society, affecting urban water supplies, the agribusiness, local livelihoods and humanity’s ability to curb the rise in global temperatures, warn.

Beyond the new data related to the tipping point, the scientists who developed the report (two thirds are from Amazonian countries, including indigenous scientists) they also offer the latest scientific information covering all aspects of the Amazon.

This includes the geological factors that led to its formation millions of years ago, its role as one of the most critical elements of the earth system, the extent of its biological and cultural richness, the socio-political context of the region, the transformations it has undergone in the last decades and their relevance to climate change. In addition, this report outlines strategies to build a sustainable future for the Amazon Region.

The co-chairs of the panel, Carlos Nobre, senior scientist at the National Institute for Amazon Research (INPA) of Brazil, and Andrea Encalada, vice-rector of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador, led the preparation of the IReport under the auspices of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, chaired by American academic Jeffrey Sachs.

WWF has congratulated the authors of the report and “the valuable scientific information it provides, which unequivocally supports the Scientists call for a red code for the Amazon and the urgent need to halt deforestation and forest degradation before 2030 ″, as stated in a statement.

Furthermore, WWF recognizes “the great value of the union of rigorous and deep science and indigenous and traditional knowledge”In this report, which should be the basis for decision-making for the Amazon from now on as it reflects that a change is needed in the development paradigm, market dynamics and finance, and the behaviors behind of the destruction of this region.

Therefore, he advocates stop the loss of biodiversity to increase the resilience of the Amazon and reduce the possibility of the system collapsing in the near future.

The report also highlights the critical role of protected areas and indigenous territories in the protection of biodiversity and urges to include indigenous peoples and the broader range of local communities in decision-making and to ensure the protection of their lands and territories as crucial aspects to keep thriving forests standing, giving us a chance against the climate crisis and, at the same time, allowing local economies and cultures to prosper.

Despite the dire predictions, a different future is possible, one in which progress is made on the paths of sustainable and inclusive development, where people living in the Amazon meet their needs and aspirations, and at least 80% of the forests remain standing“Added Roberto Troya.

“For this to be possible, we need to promote strong collaboration between different sectors; policy formulation must be based on scientific research and traditional and indigenous peoples’ knowledge; and we must work towards a bioeconomy based on sustainable livelihoods, investments and responsible supply chains, respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and the elimination of illegal activities “, it is finished.

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