Publications by authors named "Philip Martin Fearnside"

16 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Brazil's COVID-19 Epicenter in Manaus: How Much of the Population Has Already Been Exposed and Are Vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2?

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities 2021 Sep 29. Epub 2021 Sep 29.

Departamento de Dinâmica Ambiental, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.

Is Brazil's COVID-19 epicenter really approaching herd immunity? A recent study estimated that in October 2020 three-quarters of the population of Manaus (the capital of the largest state in the Brazilian Amazon) had contact with SARS-CoV-2. We show that 46% of the Manaus population having had contact with SARS-CoV-2 at that time is a more plausible estimate, and that Amazonia is still far from herd immunity. The second wave of COVID-19 is now evident in Manaus. We predict that the pandemic of COVID-19 will continue throughout 2021, given the duration of naturally acquired immunity of only 240 days and the slow pace of vaccination. Manaus has a large percentage of the population that is susceptible (35 to 45% as of May 17, 2021). Against this backdrop, measures to restrict urban mobility and social isolation are still necessary, such as the closure of schools and universities, since the resumption of these activities in 2020 due to the low attack rates of SARS-CoV-2 was the main trigger for the second wave in Manaus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40615-021-01148-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8480276PMC
September 2021

How Brazil's President turned the country into a global epicenter of COVID-19.

J Public Health Policy 2021 Sep 27;42(3):439-451. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

Department of Environmental Dynamics, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), Manaus, Amazonas, 69060-001, Brazil.

In this manuscript, we point out that the federal government headed by President Bolsonaro has pursued a political agenda that contributed to the spread of COVID-19, transforming the country into a major repository for SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, thus representing a risk for worldwide containment efforts. Furthermore his actions are also weakening democratic institutions, which could counter his political agenda, effectively facilitating the spread of COVID-19. Thus, the perpetuation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil is due to human behaviour factors, especially high-level public decision makers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/s41271-021-00302-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8393776PMC
September 2021

Brazil's planned exploitation of Amazonian indigenous lands for commercial agriculture increases risk of new pandemics.

Reg Environ Change 2021 18;21(3):81. Epub 2021 Aug 18.

Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), Manaus, Amazonas Brazil.

We report the emergence of a new production chain for commercial food that aims to maximize profit to the detriment of the environment and traditional communities in the Amazonian region. In addition, the combination of environmental impact and the raising of confined animals (including pigs and poultry), in locations where the animals may have contact with other diseases carries the danger of generating a new pandemic of worldwide proportions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10113-021-01819-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8372221PMC
August 2021

The First Case of Immunity Loss and SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection by the Same Virus Lineage in Amazonia.

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities 2021 08 21;8(4):821-823. Epub 2021 Jun 21.

Department of Statistics, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

We report the first confirmed record of a SARS-CoV-2 immunity loss and reinfection for the Amazon region and for Brazil by the same virus lineage. The patient presented an asymptomatic condition the first time and an aggravated one after reinfection. We raise the possibility of a recessive genotype in the Amazonian population that does not generate an immune memory response to SARS-CoV-2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40615-021-01084-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8216091PMC
August 2021

Forest fires and deforestation in the central Amazon: Effects of landscape and climate on spatial and temporal dynamics.

J Environ Manage 2021 Jun 21;288:112310. Epub 2021 Mar 21.

Department of Environmental Dynamics, National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA), Av. André Araújo n° 2936, CEP 69067-375, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.

Forest fires and deforestation are the main threats to the Amazon forest. Extreme drought events exacerbate the impact of forest fire in the Amazon, and these drought events are predicted to become more frequent due to climate change. Fire escapes into the forest from agriculture and pasture areas. We assessed the potential drivers of deforestation and forest fires in the central Brazilian Amazon and show that over a period of 31 years (1985-2015) forest fires occurred only in years of extreme drought induced by El Niño (1997, 2009 and 2015). The association of forest fires with strong El Niños shows the vulnerability of forest to climate change. The areas deforested were closely associated with navigable rivers: 62% of the total deforestation from 2000 to 2018 was located within the 2 km of rivers. There was a notable increase in deforestation and forest fire during the 2015 El Niño in comparison to previous years. Only a small part of the forest that burned was deforested in the years following the wildfires: 7% (1997), 3% (2009) and 1.5% (2015). Forest close to roads, rivers and established deforestation is susceptible to deforestation and fire since these areas are attractive for agriculture and pasture. Indigenous land was shown to be important in protecting the forest, while rural settlement projects attracted both forest fire and deforestation. Of the total area in settlement projects, 40% was affected by forest fires and 17% was deforested. Rivers are particularly important for deforestation in this part of Amazonia, and efforts to protect forest along the rivers are therefore necessary. The ability to predict where deforestation and fires are most likely to occur is important for designing policies for preventative actions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112310DOI Listing
June 2021

Burning in southwestern Brazilian Amazonia, 2016-2019.

J Environ Manage 2021 May 4;286:112189. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia - INPA, Av. André Araújo, 2036, Manaus, AM, CEP 69375-067, Brazil. Electronic address:

Fire is one of the most powerful modifiers of the Amazonian landscape and knowledge about its drivers is needed for planning control and suppression. A plethora of factors may play a role in the annual dynamics of fire frequency, spanning the biophysical, climatic, socioeconomic and institutional dimensions. To uncover the main forces currently at play, we investigated the area burned in both forested and deforested areas in the outstanding case of Brazil's state of Acre, in southwestern Amazonia. We mapped burn scars in already-deforested areas and intact forest based on satellite images from the Landsat series analyzed between 2016 and 2019. The mapped burnings in already-deforested areas totalled 550,251 ha. In addition, we mapped three forest fires totaling 34,084 ha. Fire and deforestation were highly correlated, and the latter occurred mainly in federal government lands, with protected areas showing unprecedented forest fire levels in 2019. These results indicate that Acre state is under increased fire risk even during average rainfall years. The record fires of 2019 may continue if Brazil's ongoing softening of environmental regulations and enforcement is maintained. Acre and other Amazonian states must act quickly to avoid an upsurge of social and economic losses in the coming years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112189DOI Listing
May 2021

Deforestation Trajectories on a Development Frontier in the Brazilian Amazon: 35 Years of Settlement Colonization, Policy and Economic Shifts, and Land Accumulation.

Environ Manage 2020 12 16;66(6):966-984. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Department of Geography, Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM), Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.

We examine deforestation processes in Apuí, a deforestation hotspot in Brazil's state of Amazonas and present processes of land-use change on this Amazonian development frontier. Settlement projects attract agents whose clearing reflects land accumulation and the economic importance of deforestation. We used a mixed-method approach in the Rio Juma Settlement to examine colonization and deforestation trajectories for 35 years at three scales of analysis: the entire landscape, cohorts of settlement lots divided by occupation periods, and lots grouped by landholding size per household. All sizes of landholdings are deforesting much more than before, and current political and economic forces favoring the agribusiness sector foreshadow increasing rates of forest clearing for pasture establishment in Apuí. The area cleared per year over the 2013-2018 period in Apuí grew by a percentage more than twice the corresponding percentage for the Brazilian Amazon as a whole. With the national congress and presidential administration signaling impunity for illegal deforestation, wealthy actors, and groups are investing resources in land grabbing and land accumulation, with land speculation being a crucial deforestation factor. This paper is unique in providing causal explanations at the decision-maker's level on how deforestation trajectories are linked to economic and political events (period effects) at the larger scales, adding to the literature by showing that such effects were more important than aging and cohort effects as explanations for deforestation trajectories. Additional research is needed to deepen our understanding of relations between land speculation, illegal possession of public lands, and the expansion of agricultural frontiers in Amazonia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-020-01354-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7493702PMC
December 2020

The Amazon's road to deforestation.

Science 2020 08;369(6504):634

Department of Environmental Dynamics, INPA, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abd6977DOI Listing
August 2020

Parks under attack: Brazil's Iguaçu National Park illustrates a global threat to biodiversity.

Ambio 2020 Dec 3;49(12):2061-2067. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), Av. André Araújo, 2936, Manaus, AM, CEP 69.067-375, Brazil.

National parks are under attack in many parts of the world, including Brazil, which the Convention on Biodiversity ranks as the world's most biodiverse country. Brazil has been experiencing an unprecedented environmental crisis, and the political situation in the country favors approval of environmentally damaging measures by both the legislative and executive branches of government. A new and largely unreported setback is a proposal in the National Congress for a road cutting the Iguaçu National Park in two. Here, we identify environmental threats from the proposed road and pressures on the park from the surrounding human population. The proposed laws violate Brazil's constitution and would cause immeasurable damage to the park's biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. The road would reduce the cost of transport between two municipalities (counties), but not the cost of transporting soybeans, their main agricultural product. However, the local population would be better served by strengthening its ties to the park and promoting economic alternatives such as tourism, agroforestry, and organic agriculture. The Caminho do Colono road illustrates the danger posed by downgrading the status of protected areas in order to allow environmentally damaging activities. This trend is occurring in many countries and is especially evident in Brazil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-020-01353-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7568736PMC
December 2020

Deforestation dynamics in Brazil's Amazonian settlements: Effects of land-tenure concentration.

J Environ Manage 2020 Aug 14;268:110555. Epub 2020 May 14.

Department of Environmental Dynamics, National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA), Av. André Araújo N° 2936, CEP 69067-375, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil; Brazilian Research Network on Climate Change (RedeClima), Brazil. Electronic address:

Brazil's Amazon deforestation is a major global and national environmental concern, and the ability to model and project both its course and the effect of different policy options depends on understanding how this process occurs at present and how it might change in the future. The present paper addresses one key factor in Amazon deforestation: land-tenure concentration in settlements. Brazil's policies for establishing and regulating settlement projects represent critical government decisions shaping the landscape in the 5 × 10 km Legal Amazonia region. We used remote-sensing data and information provided by the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) to evaluate the effect of land-tenure concentration in a settlement project (Projeto de Assentamento) located in a frontier area where cattle-ranching is expanding. We identified the actors and their deforestation patterns in the Matupi settlement in the southern part of Brazil's state of Amazonas. We spatially identified actors who concentrated "lots" (the parcels of land distributed to individual settlers) in 2011 and assessed whether the concentration was done by individual landholders or by "families" (where members merged their lots and the clearing was done together). Deforestation rates (1995-2011) were estimated for each type of actor and the trajectory of deforestation in the settlement (cumulative deforestation to 1994 and annual deforestation 1995-2016) was also analyzed. Concentrators occupied 28% (9653 ha) of the settlement and 29% of the lots (152 lots) analyzed; the numbers of lots concentrated ranged from two to ten. Concentrators of two lots and non-concentrators were the predominant actor types in the settlement. The mean annual clearing per landholding for concentrators of two lots (families: 4.1 ± 2.8 ha (mean ± SD); individuals: 5.1 ± 4.6 ha) was greater than for non-concentrators (1.7 ± 1.2 ha), despite their having similar patterns of small clearings. Concentrators of three or more lots had mean annual clearing per landholding between 6.2 ± 12.2 ha and 23.9 ± 38.7 ha and, the pattern of patches cleared per year >34 ha in area was predominant. The deforestation rate per lot was higher among concentrators as compared to non-concentrators, showing that lot concentration speeds deforestation. Analysis of deforestation patterns helps to better understand the process of lot concentration by spatially identifying the predominant patterns of each type of actor. The approach used in our study could assist authorities in identifying and monitoring land-tenure concentration in settlements. Agrarian-reform policymakers need to monitor this process, since it speeds deforestation in Amazonian settlement projects, as well as undermining the social objectives of the agrarian-reform program.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.110555DOI Listing
August 2020

Deforestation Dynamics on an Amazonian Peri-Urban Frontier: Simulating the Influence of the Rio Negro Bridge in Manaus, Brazil.

Environ Manage 2018 12 1;62(6):1134-1149. Epub 2018 Sep 1.

Coordenação de Dinâmica Ambiental, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), Av. André Araújo, 2936, Manaus, Amazonas, 69067-375, Brazil.

Peri-urban expansion is an increasingly important source of tropical deforestation, and a bridge over the Rio Negro in Brazil's state of Amazonas provides an unusual opportunity to quantify these impacts with clear "before" and "after" periods. Inaugurated in 2011, the bridge connects Manaus to forest areas on the right bank of the river, thus opening a new frontier for peri-urban expansion. We used the AGROECO model in the Dinamica-EGO software to simulate "Bridge" and "No-bridge" scenarios to evaluate the spatial dynamics of deforestation in the municipalities (counties) of Iranduba, Manacapuru and Novo Airão. Simulated deforestation between 2011 and 2030 for the study area as a whole was 106% higher with the bridge. The portion of the study area with expansion of roads had four times more deforestation in the Bridge scenario than in the No-bridge scenario. A change in the spatial distribution of the deforested area was detected, with an advance of deforestation in the municipality closest to the bridge. Deforestation also expanded in more distant regions. Peri-urbanization in the Bridge scenario demonstrates the possible increase in the spatial distribution of deforestation activity beyond the already-consolidated frontier, making the deforestation pattern more diffuse and leaving the remaining forest even more vulnerable. Impact of the bridge could further increase due to additional factors, such as the planned opening of a highway (BR-319) connecting Manaus to Brazil's "arc of deforestation."
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-018-1097-3DOI Listing
December 2018

Deforestation and Carbon Loss in Southwest Amazonia: Impact of Brazil's Revised Forest Code.

Environ Manage 2017 09 16;60(3):367-382. Epub 2017 May 16.

National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA), Av. André Araújo, 2936, Manaus, Amazonas, CEP 69067-0375, Brazil.

In 2012 Brazil's National Congress altered the country's Forest Code, decreasing various environmental protections in the set of regulations governing forests. This suggests consequences in increased deforestation and emissions of greenhouse gases and in decreased protection of fragile ecosystems. To ascertain the effects, a simulation was run to the year 2025 for the municipality (county) of Boca do Acre, Amazonas state, Brazil. A baseline scenario considered historical behavior (which did not respect the Forest Code), while two scenarios considered full compliance with the old Forest Code (Law 4771/1965) and the current Code (Law 12,651/2012) regarding the protection of "areas of permanent preservation" (APPs) along the edges of watercourses. The models were parameterized from satellite imagery and simulated using Dinamica-EGO software. Deforestation actors and processes in the municipality were observed in loco in 2012. Carbon emissions and loss of forest by 2025 were computed in the three simulation scenarios. There was a 10% difference in the loss of carbon stock and of forest between the scenarios with the two versions of the Forest Code. The baseline scenario showed the highest loss of carbon stocks and the highest increase in annual emissions. The greatest damage was caused by not protecting wetlands and riparian zones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-017-0879-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5544789PMC
September 2017

Deforestation and Carbon Stock Loss in Brazil's Amazonian Settlements.

Environ Manage 2017 Mar 24;59(3):393-409. Epub 2016 Oct 24.

Department of Environmental Dynamics, National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA), Av. André Araújo, 2936, Manaus, Amazonas, 69067-375, Brazil.

We estimate deforestation and the carbon stock in 2740 (82 %) of the 3325 settlements in Brazil's Legal Amazonia region. Estimates are made both using available satellite data and a carbon map for the "pre-modern" period (prior to 1970). We used data from Brazil's Project for Monitoring Deforestation in Amazonia updated through 2013 and from the Brazilian Biomes Deforestation Monitoring Project (PMDBBS) updated through 2010. To obtain the pre-modern and recent carbon stocks we performed an intersection between a carbon map and a map derived from settlement boundaries and deforestation data. Although the settlements analyzed occupied only 8 % of Legal Amazonia, our results indicate that these settlements contributed 17 % (160,410 km) of total clearing (forest + non-forest) in Legal Amazonia (967,003 km). This represents a clear-cutting of 41 % of the original vegetation in the settlements. Out of this total, 72 % (115,634 km) was in the "Federal Settlement Project" (PA) category. Deforestation in settlements represents 20 % (2.6 Pg C) of the total carbon loss in Legal Amazonia (13.1 Pg C). The carbon stock in remaining vegetation represents 3.8 Pg C, or 6 % of the total remaining carbon stock in Legal Amazonia (58.6 Pg C) in the periods analyzed. The carbon reductions in settlements are caused both by the settlers and by external actors. Our findings suggest that agrarian reform policies contributed directly to carbon loss. Thus, the implementation of new settlements should consider potential carbon stock losses, especially if settlements are created in areas with high carbon stocks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-016-0783-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5306089PMC
March 2017

Simulating deforestation and carbon loss in Amazonia: impacts in Brazil's Roraima state from reconstructing Highway BR-319 (Manaus-Porto Velho).

Environ Manage 2015 Feb 4;55(2):259-78. Epub 2014 Dec 4.

National Institute Research in Amazonia (INPA), Av. André Araújo, 2936, Manaus, Amazonas, CEP: 69067-375, Brazil.

Reconstruction of Highway BR-319 (Manaus-Porto Velho) would allow for access from the "arc of deforestation" in the southern part of Brazil's Amazon region to vast blocks of forests in central and northern Amazonia. Building roads is known to be a major driver of deforestation, allowing entry of squatters, and other actors. Rather than deforestation along the highway route, here we consider the road's potential for stimulating deforestation in a separate location, approximately 550 km north of BR-319's endpoint in Manaus. Reconstructing BR-319 has great potential impact to start a new wave of migration to this remote region. The southern portion of the state of Roraima, the focus of our study, is already connected to Manaus by Highway BR-174. We modeled deforestation in southern Roraima and simulated carbon emissions between 2007 and 2030 under four scenarios. Simulations used the AGROECO model in DINAMICA-EGO © software. Two scenarios were considered with reconstruction of BR-319 and two without this road connection. For each of the two possibilities regarding BR-319, simulations were developed for (1) a "conservation" (CONSERV) scenario that assumes the creation of a series of protected areas, and (2) a "business-as-usual" (BAU) scenario that assumes no additional protected areas. Results show that by 2030, with BR-319 rebuilt, deforestation carbon emissions would increase between 19% (CONSERV) and 42% (BAU) over and above those corresponding to no-road scenarios.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-014-0408-6DOI Listing
February 2015

Carbon stock loss from deforestation through 2013 in Brazilian Amazonia.

Glob Chang Biol 2015 Mar 8;21(3):1271-92. Epub 2015 Jan 8.

Department of Environmental Dynamics, National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA), Av. André Araújo no 2936, Manaus, Amazonas, CEP 69 067-375, Brazil.

The largest carbon stock in tropical vegetation is in Brazilian Amazonia. In this ~5 million km(2) area, over 750,000 km(2) of forest and ~240,000 km(2) of nonforest vegetation types had been cleared through 2013. We estimate current carbon stocks and cumulative gross carbon loss from clearing of premodern vegetation in Brazil's 'Legal Amazonia' and 'Amazonia biome' regions. Biomass of 'premodern' vegetation (prior to major increases in disturbance beginning in the 1970s) was estimated by matching vegetation classes mapped at a scale of 1 : 250,000 and 29 biomass means from 41 published studies for vegetation types classified as forest (2317 1-ha plots) and as either nonforest or contact zones (1830 plots and subplots of varied size). Total biomass (above and below-ground, dry weight) underwent a gross reduction of 18.3% in Legal Amazonia (13.1 Pg C) and 16.7% in the Amazonia biome (11.2 Pg C) through 2013, excluding carbon loss from the effects of fragmentation, selective logging, fires, mortality induced by recent droughts and clearing of forest regrowth. In spite of the loss of carbon from clearing, large amounts of carbon were stored in stands of remaining vegetation in 2013, equivalent to 149 Mg C ha(-1) when weighted by the total area covered by each vegetation type in Legal Amazonia. Native vegetation in Legal Amazonia in 2013 originally contained 58.6 Pg C, while that in the Amazonia biome contained 56 Pg C. Emissions per unit area from clearing could potentially be larger in the future because previously cleared areas were mainly covered by vegetation with lower mean biomass than the remaining vegetation. Estimates of original biomass are essential for estimating losses to forest degradation. This study offers estimates of cumulative biomass loss, as well as estimates of premodern carbon stocks that have not been represented in recent estimates of deforestation impacts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12798DOI Listing
March 2015
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