Around the Region

Project will boost C02 levels and study rainforest reaction

Scientists have started work on a project in the Brazilian Amazon to probe the rainforest’s ability to sequester carbon dioxide and gauge how future carbon emissions, together with the global warming they induce, will affect that biome. The AmazonFACE project, co-funded by Brazil and the United Kingdom, now consists of two 35-meter-high (115-foot) aluminum towers that reach into the rainforest canopy at a site 70 kilometers (44 miles) north of the western Amazon city Manaus. The technology known as FACE (Free Air CO2 Enrichment) has already been used in forests in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, but never in a tropical rainforest. By mid-2024, the project in the Brazilian Amazon will comprise a network of six central towers, each ringed by 16 towers. The rings will each encompass a canopy of around 50 rainforest trees and collectively cover an area of one...

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Date set for referendum on mining ban in Chocó

Some two million residents of Quito, Ecuador, will decide on Aug. 20 whether to allow continued metals mining northwest of the capital in a portion of the Chocó, a highly biodiverse ecoregion on the western slope of the Andes. The Chocó runs from southeastern Panama through western Colombia and into northwest Ecuador, following a corridor between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains. Some 287,000-hectares (709,000 acres) of the Chocó that is located in Ecuador’s Pichincha province, an area known as the Chocó Andino, has been declared a Unesco biosphere reserve. Over 40% of the biosphere lies within the boundaries of the sprawling Metropolitan District of Quito. It is this 124,296-hectare (307,142-acre) municipal-district portion of the Chocó-Andino de Pichincha Biosphere Reserve that will be subject to the referendum, whose results will be binding. The area, an hour’s drive northwest of Quito, encompasses habitat ranging in...

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State of Tocantins signs sub-national carbon deal

The Brazilian state of Tocantins this month signed a lucrative forest-carbon credit purchase agreement with a Geneva-based commodity trader, raising the hopes of some climate experts that such “sub-national” deals could become a major driver of world forest-carbon markets. The agreement, signed June 5 by Tocantins and the multinational Mercuria Energy Trading, is expected to provide the state with hundreds of millions of dollars from 2024 to 2030 to implement the state’s pioneering “jurisdictional REDD+” (or J-REDD+) program. REDD+, whose acronym stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, is a U.N.-backed strategy for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in developing countries by improving forest protection. With forest destruction estimated to account for 20% of world carbon emissions, conservation efforts in key woodland regions such as the Brazilian Amazon are considered crucial in the fight against climate change. J-REDD+ programs aim to generate...

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