chapter  34
Mitigation options from forestry and agriculture in the Amazon: Jan Börner and Sven Wunder
Pages 12

This chapter seeks to identify “low-hanging fruits” for agricultural and forestry-based climate change mitigation in the Amazon region and derive implications for mitigation initiatives. Mitigation potential, especially in the forestry sector, looms large. Niles et al. (2002) estimate for Latin America that forest restoration and avoided deforestation together could result in up to 128 Mt of carbon emission reductions annually (68% of the world total) as opposed to 9.3 Mt through sustainable agricultural change (see chapters by Minang et al. and Gockowski and Van Asten for examples from Africa). The Amazon forest is the world’s largest continuous tropical rainforest covering over 4% of the earth’s land surface. Between 1977 and 2010, 618,000 km2 of forest area was converted to pasture and agricultural crops in the Brazilian Amazon alone.1 Carbon emissions from Amazon deforestation are estimated to account for 24% of global carbon emissions from land-use change (Aragão and Shimabukuro 2010). In the countries with large shares of their territory in the Amazon region (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), combined AFOLU (Agriculture, Forestry and other Land Use) emissions account for over 83% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions2 thus representing the most important sector for climate change mitigation. AFOLU-based climate change mitigation has been ridden with obstacles. Afforestation and reforestation (A/R) initiatives, for example, the only AFOLU measure eligible under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, account for only 17 out of a total of 2,970 registered projects3 approved since the CDM’s inception-complicated rules and high transaction costs have been binding constraints, and pilot experiences were often confined to the voluntary market (Michaelowa and Jotzo 2005).