Systemic Conservation, REDD, and the Future of the Amazon Basin

9 de novembro de 2011

nov 9, 2011

Daniel Nepstad, David G. McGrath, Britaldo Soares-Filho

The environmental movement has won hundreds of critical battles, but it is losing the war. The capacity of the planet to sustain life is declining (Brown 2011). In this essay, we introduce the concept of systemic conservation as a response to this global environmental challenge.

We define it as the protection and restoration of the ecological, climatic, hydrological, and biogeochemical systems
that sustain life. Systemic conservation is global in scope and focuses on the root causes of the damage to and disruption of natural systems. It is based on the premise that conservation must drive a transformation of economic systems to internalize those damages to natural systems that are associated with the production and delivery of goods and services.

In tandem, it must also drive improved governance through the strengthening of governments and their institutions, and through building the capacity of civil society organizations to force government to do its job in defending the public good. We illustrate the potential for systemic conservation through a description and analysis of the Amazon Basin at two critical moments in history: 2005 and 2011. We then examine two divergent but plausible outcomes of current trends and conditions in the year 2020.

We propose that low-emission rural development could provide an organizing framework and long-term, performance-based funding within which systemic conservation can be realized in Amazonia and, potentially, other regions of moist tropical forest.

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