, Volume 39, Issue 8, pp 580–584 | Cite as

Cerrado Conservation is Essential to Protect the Amazon Rainforest

  • Ana Cláudia Mendes Malhado
  • Gabrielle Ferreira Pires
  • Marcos Heil Costa


Despite widespread deforestation the forests of Amazonia still cover more than 5 million km2 and may host up to a quarter of the world’s terrestrial species (Dirzo and Raven 2003)—many of which are still undocumented. Conservation of these forests is important, not just for the biodiversity they contain, but also for the vital ecosystem services they provide. Historically, the greatest threat to Amazonia has been conversion to agriculture, initially through small-scale farming and, more recently, also through well-capitalized organizations producing agricultural and forestry products for global markets (Rudel et al. 2009). The attention of scientists and conservationists has recently shifted toward another factor that could radically alter the distribution, ecology, and value of the forest—climate change.

Climatologists predict that changes in atmospheric composition in the twenty-first century will cause Amazonia to experience an increase in temperatures of around 3°C and...


Amazon Rainforest Seasonal Forest Climate Space Climate Threshold Lowland Tropical Rainforest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and CNPq. Thanks to Dr Richard Ladle and Dr Mike Coe for insightful comments.


  1. Costa, M.H., and J.A. Foley. 2000. Combined effects of deforestation and doubled atmospheric CO2 concentrations on the climate of Amazonia. Journal of Climate 13: 18–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Costa, M.H., and G.F. Pires. 2009. Effects of Amazon and central Brazil deforestation scenarios on the duration of the dry season in the arc of deforestation. International Journal of Climatology. doi: 10.1002/joc.2048.
  3. Cox, P.M., R.A. Betts, C.D. Jones, S.A. Spall, and I.J. Totterdell. 2000. Acceleration of global warming due to carbon-cycle feedbacks in a coupled climate model. Nature 408: 184–187. doi: 10.1038/35041539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. D’Almeida, C., C.J. Vörösmarty, G.C. Hurtt, J.A. Marengo, S.L. Dingman, and B.D. Keim. 2007. The effects of deforestation on the hydrological cycle in Amazonia: A review on scale and resolution. International Journal of Climatology 27: 633–647. doi: 10.1002/joc.1475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dirzo, R., and P.H. Raven. 2003. Global state of biodiversity and loss. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 28: 137–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2007. Summary for policymakers. In Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Klink, C.A., and R. Machado. 2005. Conservation of the Brazilian Cerrado. Conservation Biology 19: 707–713. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00702.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lees, A.C., and C.A. Peres. 2006. Rapid avifaunal collapse along the Amazonian deforestation frontier. Biological Conservation 133: 198–211. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2006.06.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lenton, T.M., H. Held, E. Kriegler, J.H. Hall, W. Lucht, S. Rahmstorf, and H.J. Schellnhuber. 2008. Tipping elements in the Earth’s climate system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105: 1786–1793. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0705414105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Malhi, Y., L.E.O.C. Aragão, D. Galbraith, C. Huntingford, R. Fisher, P. Zelazowski, S. Sitch, C. McSweeney, and P. Meir. 2009. Exploring the likelihood and mechanism of a climate-change-induced dieback of the Amazon rainforest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106: 20610–20615. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0804619106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mayle, F.E., D.J. Beerling, W.D. Gosling, and M.B. Bush. 2004. Responses of Amazonian ecosystems to climatic and atmospheric carbon dioxide changes since the last glacial maximum. Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences 359: 499–514. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2003.1434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Nepstad, D., B.S. Soares-Filho, F. Merry, A. Lima, P. Moutinho, J. Carter, M. Bowman, A. Cattaneo, et al. 2009. The end of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Science 326: 1350–1351. doi: 10.1126/science.1182108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Nobre, C.A., and L.S. Borma. 2009. Tipping points for the Amazon forest. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 1: 28–36. doi: 10.1016/j.cosust.2009.07.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Rudel, T.K., R. Defries, G.P. Asner, and W.F. Laurance. 2009. Changing drivers of deforestation and new opportunities for conservation. Conservation Biology 23: 1396–1405. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Sano, E.E., R. Rosa, J.L. Brito, and L.G. Ferreira Jr. 2008. Semidetailed mapping of land use in Cerrado. Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira 43: 153–156. doi: 10.1590/S0100-204X2008000100020. (in Portuguese).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Soares-Filho, B., D.C. Nepstad, L. Curran, G. Cerqueira, R. Garcia, C. Ramos, E. Voll, A. McDonald, P. Lefebvre, and P. Schlesinger. 2006. Modeling Amazon conservation. Nature 440: 520–523. doi: 10.1038/nature04389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Walker, R., N.J. Moore, E. Arima, S. Perz, C. Simmons, M. Caldas, D. Vergara, and C. Bohrer. 2009. Protecting the Amazon with protected áreas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 26: 10582–10586. doi: /10.1073/pnas.0806059106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Cláudia Mendes Malhado
    • 1
  • Gabrielle Ferreira Pires
    • 1
  • Marcos Heil Costa
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal University of Viçosa (UFV)ViçosaBrazil

Personalised recommendations