Alana Moore

Tél. : (+594) 5 94 32 93 00

Fax : (+594) 5 94 32 43 02

email : Alana.Moore at EcoFoG.gf

Position

Researcher at UMR EcoFoG up to october 2012.

Mitigating risks of climate and land-use change to ecosystem services in French Guianan rainforests

The Amazon Basin is one of the world’s most important bioregions [1]. It plays a key role in carbon storage, is one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world, and plays an important role in the global energy and water balance [2,3]. Unfortunately, the future of this vital region is severely threatened by land-use and climate change [4-6]. Although tropical deforestation has been recognised as a major environmental problem for decades, the true extent of the degradation to tropical forests, and the services they provide, has recently been predicted to be even greater than previously thought [1]. In the Amazon region, climate change is predicted to be accompanied by increased air temperature and dry season length [6-7], as well as probable increased frequency of severe seasonal droughts [6,8]. Synergistic interactions between land-use and climate change are predicted to amplify the impact of climate change [4-5] triggering increased fire occurrences and reducing the resilience of forest ecosystems [6].
The rainforests of the Amazon provide crucial ecosystem goods and services that have considerable economic and societal values [9]. The term ‘ecosystem services’ roughly refers to materials and products supplied by natural ecosystems for human use [10]; they provide the link between ecosystems and human society [11]. In French Guiana, the locally-recognized ecosystem services depend particularly on woody plant biodiversity, encompassing (i) species diversity (biological resources for pharmaceutical industry or reservoir of genetic traits for agronomy), (ii) functional diversity (major ecological processes including biogeochemical cycles), (iii) carbon storage and (iv) timber production. In the near future, reference maps for these four ecosystem services will be available.
For the scientific community, the challenge is now to evaluate the combined impacts of climate and land-use change on the value of these ecosystem services and the effectiveness of our protected reserve network and other land-use practices in maintaining these services.
Some studies have compared the potential influence of protected areas and other conservation approaches on Amazon watersheds, vegetation types (ecoregions), mammals and carbon emissions under a range of policy scenarios (policies on logging, road building and deforestation) [e.g. 12]. However, to date, most studies that consider impacts due to land-use change have not considered potential landscape changes due to climate change, such as the potential for forest to be replaced by savanna scrub through global warming [4,12]. Some recent studies have coalesced predicted individual effects of climate and land-use change to estimate potential combined impacts [e.g. 3,4], however, they focus on general, large-scale impacts under a limited range of land-use policies.
This research will, for the first time, show how conservation planning can be used to simultaneously evaluate and manage risks to ecosystem services due to both climate and land-use change.

View online : http://alanamooreresearch.wordpress.com/

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