The huge Brazilian Amazon state of Mato Grosso will cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by more than half if it sticks with current plans to reduce deforestation substantially by 2020, says a new study. The research, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses 105 years of historical data on land-use changes to estimate future emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, based on a business-as-usual scenario versus a pledge by the state to reduce deforestation by 89 percent in the next decade–a reduction that is already underway, according to the authors.
“Our study shows not only that Mato Gross can perhaps achieve this goal, but, if they stick with it, we now have an estimate of what their greenhouse gas emissions would be,” said lead author Gillian Galford, currently a postdoctoral research scientist at the Earth Institute’s Tropical Agriculture Program. Galford did the research as part of her PhD. thesis in a joint program of Brown University and the Marine Biological Laboratory.
“The Amazon region has a major influence on greenhouse gas emissions, but it is still unclear what future land-use changes will bring, say the authors. It is “one of the most dynamic places of changing land cover on the planet,” said coauthor John Mustard, Galford’s advisor in the Brown-MBL program. “Through observation and modeling, we are now able to bring a strong focus to these questions.”
Read the full story, posted by Marine Biological Laboratory.