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The Incidence of Fire in Amazonian Forests with Implications for REDD

Science  04 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5983, pp. 1275-1278
DOI: 10.1126/science.1186925

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Abstract

Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) may curb carbon emissions, but the consequences for fire hazard are poorly understood. By analyzing satellite-derived deforestation and fire data from the Brazilian Amazon, we show that fire occurrence has increased in 59% of the area that has experienced reduced deforestation rates. Differences in fire frequencies across two land-use gradients reveal that fire-free land-management can substantially reduce fire incidence by as much as 69%. If sustainable fire-free land-management of deforested areas is not adopted in the REDD mechanism, then the carbon savings achieved by avoiding deforestation may be partially negated by increased emissions from fires.

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