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Seeing REDD in the Amazon: a win for people, trees and climate

Virgilio M. Viana

Opinion paper, 2 pages

Tucked away in a tangle of Brazilian rainforest, a quiet evolution is unfolding. In Amazonas, the country’s biggest state, people are using an approach called REDD to conserve their forests in return for credit. This project’s success has huge implications for reducing deforestation, cutting emissions and eradicating poverty, and its time has definitely come. Between 1990 and 2005, over a million square kilometres of forest were lost in the tropics. Half that was in the Amazon. Deforestation accounts for over 17 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, so a curb on felling is key to successfully mitigating climate change. But the Amazon is prey to unsustainable development, and the costs of inaction and laissez-faire are higher than those of stopping deforestation. REDD is the most promising solution yet for this volatile mix of issues.

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