The Incidence of Fire in Amazonian Forests with Implications for REDD

By Luiz E. O. C. Aragão and Yosio E. Shimabukuro. (2010). Science.Vol. 328. no. 5983, pp. 1275 - 1278

Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) may curb carbon emissions, but the consequences for fire hazard are poorly understood. By analyzing satellite-derived deforestation and fire data from the Brazilian Amazon, we show that fire occurrence has increased in 59% of the area that has experienced reduced deforestation rates. Differences in fire frequencies across two land-use gradients reveal that fire-free land-management can substantially reduce fire incidence by as much as 69%. If sustainable fire-free land-management of deforested areas is not adopted in the REDD mechanism, then the carbon savings achieved by avoiding deforestation may be partially negated by increased emissions from fires.