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Biota-FAPESP Education VII

Biota-FAPESP Education discusses importance of Amazonian forest

On September 19th, the biota-FAPESP Conference Cycle focused on the importance of the Amazon, the planet’s largest remaining block of tropical forest. On this video, the speakers stress the most important features of the ecosystem and the main threats to its conservation.

To biologist Helder Queiroz, director of the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development, small scale changes – such as clearings for wood extraction – may represent a great risk to the forest’s balance. According to him, it is difficult to detect small clearings for selective extraction, one of the oldest and more serious problems in the region. “Many of the trees which wood has great commercial value are essencial to feed many animals,” he said. Even in a reduced scale, this kind of deforestation may erode or compact the soil and exhaust its nutrients.

Despite apparent degradation, the deforestation indices on the Amazon have fallen over the past months. According to Maria Lúcia Absy, from the National Institute for Amazon Research (Inpa), between 2004 and 2012 there was a 84% reduction on the annual rates of deforestation on the Legal Amazon. She also calls attention to the forest’s heterogeneity. “That idea of seeing the Amazonian Forest and thinking it is uniform is wrong,” she stated.

Read the full report of the talks: Invisible threat