Deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia is a significant source of greenhouse gases today and, with almost 90% of the originally forested area still uncleared, is a very large potential source of future emissions. The 1990 rate of loss of forest (13.8 × 103 km2/year) and cerrado savanna (approximately 5 × 103 km2/year) was responsible for releasing approximately 261 × 106 metric tons of carbon (106 t C) in the form of CO2, or 274–285 × 106 t of CO2-equivalent C considering IPCC 1994 global warming potentials for trace gases over a 100-year horizon. These calculations consider conversion to a landscape of agriculture, productive pasture, degraded pasture, secondary forest, and regenerated forest in the proportions corresponding to the equilibrium condition implied by current land-use patterns. Emissions are expressed as ‘net committed emissions’, or the gases released over a period of years as the carbon stock in each hectare deforested approaches a new equilibrium in the landscape that replaces the original forest. For low and high trace gas scenarios, respectively, 1990 clearing produced net committed emissions (in 106 t of gas) of 957–958 for CO2, 1.10–1.42 for CH4, 28–35 for CO, 0.06–0.16 for N2O, 0.74–0.74 for NOx and 0.58–1.16 for non-methane hydrocarbons.
Climatic Change – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 15, 2004
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