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.”

Research Results

  1. Amazon land-use scenarios
    AMAZALERT produced updated qualitative and quantitative land use scenarios for the Brazilian Amazon, capturing the current contrasting trends for the region. Reflecting stakeholder views, scenarios range from having 80% of the original forest preserved, and a large regeneration process, to having 50% deforested by 2100.  

  2. Amazon forest services
    Both stakeholder consultations and AMAZALERT modelling confirm that Amazon forests are of crucial importance for a broad set of services such as safeguarding regional water recycling and carbon storage. 

  3. Impacts of climate change and deforestation
    AMAZALERT models show that if deforestation is kept low, it seems unlikely that climate change alone will cause dramatic losses by 2100 in the remaining forest.  

  4. Unknowns, new evidence and uncertainties
    Uncertainties remain regarding the sensitivity of Amazon forests to climate change, particularly related to CO2 fertilisation, fire dynamics, incidence of drought, as well as to the trajectory of socio-economic development.  

  5. Unknowns, new evidence and uncertainties
    New evidence suggests that the carbon gain in the forests is not very sensitive to increasing temperatures, and that some species are surprisingly tolerant of drought, whilst others are not. These findings suggest the resilience of Amazonian forests to climate change may be greater than previously thought, but species composition may change.  

  6. Unknowns, new evidence and uncertainties
    The uncertainties imply that in the worst case, with high deforestation, up to 50% of forests could disappear or degrade, which would promote drying effects on the regional climate. However, in the best case, forest degradation could be limited to the current 20% of Amazonia, with minimal effects on regional climate.  
  7. Geographic differences in vulnerability 
    Observations and modelling studies in AMAZALERT show that the forests of the south and southeast of the Amazon Basin are more vulnerable to forest loss and degradation by droughts than forests in the north and northwest, because of higher pressures in this region from anthropogenic activity and climate change. 
  8. Drivers and policies for deforestation reduction
    Stakeholder consultations suggest that the impact of trade of Amazonian countries with the EU on Amazon deforestation is significant but less than the impacts of (i) trade of Amazonian countries with other regions and (ii) domestic consumption. A strong civil society and social cohesion were indicated by stakeholders as important elements for the prevention.   

Read further in the AMAZALERT Final project summary for policy makers