AMAZALERT examined how global and regional climate and land-use changes will impact Amazonian forests, agriculture, waters, and people; and how these impacts feed back onto climate. 

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“The AMAZALERT project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 282664, and was co-funded by many national agencies an institutes.”


Recent progress in understanding climate thresholds This article reviews recent scientific progress, relating to four major systems that could exhibit threshold behaviour: ice sheets, the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), tropical forests and ecosystem responses to ocean acidification. The focus is on advances since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5). The most significant developments in each component are identified by synthesizing input from multiple experts from each field. For ice sheets, some degree of irreversible loss (timescales of millennia) of part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) may have already begun, but the rate and eventual magnitude of this irreversible loss is uncertain. The observed AMOC overturning has decreased from 2004–2014, but it is unclear at this stage whether this is forced or is internal variability. New evidence from experimental and natural droughts has given greater confidence that tropical forests are adversely affected by drought. The ecological and socio-economic impacts of ocean acidification are expected to greatly increase over the range from today’s annual value of around 400, up to 650 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere (reached around 2070 under RCP8.5), with the rapid development of aragonite undersaturation at high latitudes affecting calcifying organisms. Tropical coral reefs are vulnerable to the interaction of ocean acidification and temperature rise, and the rapidity of those changes, with severe losses and risks to survival at 2 °C warming above pre-industrial levels. Across the four systems studied, however, quantitative evidence for a difference in risk between 1.5 and 2 °C warming above pre-industrial levels is limited.
Peter good, Jonathan Bamber, Kate Halladay, Anna B Harper, Laura C Jackson, Gillian Kay, Bart Kruijt, Jason A Lowe, Oliver L Phillips, Jeff Ridley, Meric Srokosz, Carol Turley, Phillip Williamson / Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment, Wednesday 7 February 2018
Land use change emission scenarios: anticipating a forest transition process in the Brazilian Amazon Following an intense occupation process that was initiated in the 1960s, deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon have decreased significantly since 2004, stabilizing around 6000 km2 yr 1 in the last 5 years. A convergence of conditions contributed to this, including the creation of protected areas, the use of effective monitoring systems, and credit restriction mechanisms. Nevertheless, other threats remain, including the rapidly expanding global markets for agricultural commodities, large-scale transportation and energy infrastructure projects, and weak institutions. We propose three updated qualitative and quantitative land-use scenarios for the Brazilian Amazon, including a normative ‘Sustainability’ scenario in which we envision major socio-economic, institutional, and environmental achievements in the region. We developed an innovative spatially explicit modelling approach capable of representing alternative pathways of the clear-cut deforestation, secondary vegetation dynamics, and the old-growth forest degradation. We use the computational models to estimate net deforestation-driven carbon emissions for the different scenarios. The region would become a sink of carbon after 2020 in a scenario of residual deforestation (~1000 km2 yr 1) and a change in the current dynamics of the secondary vegetation – in a forest transition scenario. However, our results also show that the continuation of the current situation of relatively low deforestation rates and short life cycle of the secondary vegetation would maintain the region as a source of CO2 – even if a large portion of the deforested area is covered by secondary vegetation. In relation to the old-growth forest degradation process, we estimated average gross emission corresponding to 47% of the clear-cut deforestation from 2007 to 2013 (using the DEGRAD system data), although the aggregate effects of the postdisturbance regeneration can partially offset these emissions. Both processes (secondary vegetation and forest degradation) need to be better understood as they potentially will play a decisive role in the future regional carbon balance.
Aguiar, A. P. D., Vieira, I. C. G., Assis, T. O., Dalla-Nora, E. L., Toledo, P. M., Oliveira Santos-Junior, R. A., Batistella, M., Coelho, A. S., Savaget, E. K., Aragão, L. E. O. C., Nobre, C. A. and Ometto, J. P. H. (2016), Land use change emission scenarios: anticipating a forest transition process in the Brazilian Amazon. Glob Change Biol, 22: 1821–1840. doi:10.1111/gcb.13134, Monday 5 December 2016
Article: 'Deforestation scenarios for the Bolivian lowlands' Tropical forests in South America play a key role in the provision of ecosystem services such as carbon sinks, biodiversity conservation, and global climate regulation. In previous decades, Bolivian forests have mainly been deforested by the expansion of agricultural frontier development, driven by the growing demands for beef and other productions. In the mid-2000s the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) party rose to power in Bolivia with the promise of promoting an alternative development model that would respect the environment. The party passed the world’s first laws granting rights to the environment, which they termed Mother Earth (Law No. 300 of 2012), and proposed an innovative framework that was expected to develop radical new conservation policies. The MAS conservationist discourse, policies, and productive practices, however, have since been in permanent tension. The government continues to guarantee food production through neo-extractivist methods by promoting the notion to expand agriculture from 3 to 13 million ha, risking the tropical forests and their ecosystem services. These actions raise major environmental and social concerns, as the potential impacts of such interventions are still unknown. The objective of this study is to explore an innovative land use modeling approach to simulate how the growing demand for land could affect future deforestation trends in Bolivia.
In Environmental Research (In Press) / Graciela Tejada, Eloi Dalla-Nora, Diana Cordoba, Raffaele Lafortezza, Alex Ovando, Talita Assis, Ana Paula Aguiar, Friday 23 October 2015
Article published: 'Projected strengthening of Amazonian dry season by constrained climate model simulations' The vulnerability of Amazonian rainforest, and the ecological services it provides, depends on an adequate supply of dry-season water, either as precipitation or stored soil moisture. How the rain-bearing South American monsoon will evolve across the twenty-first century is thus a question of major interest. Extensive savanization, with its loss of forest carbon stock and uptake capacity, is an extreme although very uncertain scenario. We show that the contrasting rainfall projections simulated for Amazonia by 36 global climate models (GCMs) can be reproduced with empirical precipitation models, calibrated with historical GCM data as functions of the large-scale circulation. A set of these simple models was therefore calibrated with observations and used to constrain the GCM simulations. In agreement with the current hydrologic trends, the resulting projection towards the end of the twenty-first century is for a strengthening of the monsoon seasonal cycle, and a dry-season lengthening in southern Amazonia. With this approach, the increase in the area subjected to lengthy-savannah-prone-dry seasons is substantially larger than the GCM-simulated one. Our results confirm the dominant picture shown by the state-of-the-art GCMs, but suggest that the ‘model democracy’ view of these impacts can be significantly underestimated.
Nature Climate Change, Monday 1 June 2015
Article: Understanding climate change impact on Amazon deforestation EU-funded researchers have assessed the impact of climate and land-use change on deforestation in the Amazon and put forward policy recommendations designed to ensure the long term sustainability of this vast ecosystem.
Horizon 2020, Tuesday 2 December 2014
Modeling forest dynamics along climate gradients in Bolivia As reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences by authors C. Seiler, R. W. A. Hutjes, B. Kruijt, J. Quispe, S. Añez, V. K. Arora, J. R. Melton, T. Hickler and P. Kabat, a dynamic vegetation model (LPJ-GUESS) was adapted to simulate present day potential vegetation as a baseline for climate change impact assessments in the evergreen and deciduous forests of Bolivia.
Christian Seiler, Tuesday 6 May 2014
Abstract: Above-ground biomass and structure of 260 African tropical forests We report above-ground biomass (AGB), basal area, stem density and wood mass density estimates from 260 sample plots (mean size: 1.2 ha) in intact closed-canopy tropical forests across 12 African countries.
Lewis, S.L., et al. / Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 368, Tuesday 1 October 2013
Abstract: Conventional tree height–diameter relationships significantly overestimate aboveground carbon stocks in the Central Congo Basin Policies to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation largely depend on accurate estimates of tropical forest carbon stocks. Here we present the first field-based carbon stock data for the Central Congo Basin in Yangambi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Published in 'Nature Communications'
Kearsley, et al. / Nature Communications, Monday 5 August 2013
Article published: 'Future changes in precipitation and impacts on extreme streamflow over Amazonian sub-basins' With a multi-model approach for future climate, Matthieu Guimberteau (IPSL) and colleagues investigate the change in annual extreme flows in several Amazonian sub-basins in response to projected precipitation variation.
M. Guimberteau et al / Environmental Research Letters, Thursday 7 March 2013
Article: Alterations in Amazonia An international collaboration of scientists and researchers is embarking on AMAZALERT – an ambitious project which is investigating critical feedbacks between climate and long-term land use change in the Amazon. Drs Bart Kruijt and Carlos Nobre are the coordinators and were interviewed for an article in the International Innovation Journal. International Innovation is the leading global dissemination resource for the wider scientific, technology and research communities, dedicated to disseminating the latest science, research and technological innovations on a global level. More information and a complimentary subscription offer to the publication can be found at: www.researchmedia.eu
International Innovation, Tuesday 14 August 2012