Latin America Regional Climate Centre
Earthwatch is undertaking a comprehensive forest research programme looking at the impacts of climate change on forests. This Climate Centre is one of five global research centres.
Roughly one-third of the world's plants and animals live in Latin America, also home to the most tropical forest area in the world. However, deforestation, a practice often used to clear the way for agriculture, has wiped out most of these forests.
In tropical countries such as Brazil, deforestation accounts for more than 20 per cent of annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. At the same time, the destruction of habitat and the lack of corridors between any remaining forested areas that exist make the Latin American region particularly vulnerable to climate change.
The Latin America Regional Climate Centre is based in Curitiba, in the Guaraqueçaba Environmental Protection Area of Paraná State, a region that harbors some of the last remaining patches of Brazil's Atlantic Forest. This biodiversity "hotspot" contains thousands of threatened species that have lost their habitat to deforestation. More than 90 per cent of the original vegetation has been destroyed.
Earthwatch is working alongside a nonprofit organization called Sociedade de Pesquisa em Vida Selvagem (SPVS), a Portuguese acronym for the Society for Wildlife Research and Environmental Education. SPVS was established in 1984, and currently runs more than 100 environmental protection projects in several parts of Brazil.
Earthwatch will work with SPVS scientists to help develop management strategies that minimize the negative impacts of climate change on forest biodiversity. The study will reveal which tree species are becoming more common in changing conditions, which trees are being lost, how much carbon is stored by the trees and how neighboring trees interact with each other over time.
Learn more about this programme and Earthwatch's role in the HSBC Climate Partnership.