Policy ForumEnvironment

The Future of the Brazilian Amazon

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Science  19 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5503, pp. 438-439
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5503.438

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The Brazilian Amazon is currently experiencing the world's highest absolute rate of forest destruction and is likely to suffer even greater degradation in the future because of government plans to invest $40 billion from 2000 to 2007 in dozens of major new highways and infrastructure projects. We developed two computer models that integrate spatial data on deforestation, logging, mining, highways and roads, navigable rivers, vulnerability to wildfires, protected areas, and existing and planned infrastructure projects, in an effort to predict the condition of Brazilian Amazonian forests by the year 2020. Both models suggest that the region's forests will be drastically altered by current development schemes and land-use trends over the next 20 years.

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