In the upcoming SweDev series, Roksana Rotter, intern at SweDev, will share insights into her participation in a research project in the Amazon Forest.
The cross-disciplinary research project on sustainable management of the Amazon Forest started this autumn with the research team’s visit to the Mamirauá Reserve, Brazil. This project is a collaboration between Linköping University (LiU), the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Lancaster University and the Mamirauá Institute of Sustainable Development (ISDM). It is led by Alex Enrich Prast, professor at LiU and UFRJ and Veronica Brodén Gyberg, Senior Lecturer in environmental change at LiU and SweDev member. Alejandra Leon and I, Roksana Rotter, both Master students at LiU, had the opportunity to participate in this research project.
The project aims to create a win-win situation for resource utilization and climate mitigation in the Mamirauá Reserve. For this purpose, the team explores different forest management strategies that are beneficial for community livelihoods while conserving the forest and positively influencing greenhouse gas (GHG) dynamics, which ultimately also mitigates climate change.
The idea behind the project
Recent studies suggest that in addition to their GHG sink function, trees can also be a significant source of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. The objective of the project is to understand the CH4 and N2O dynamics, as these gases play an essential role in the greenhouse gas balance of the Amazon rainforest. Therefore, CH4 and N2O fluxes are measured and analysed by the team together with community members to determine the actual climatic benefits of trees. The results can later be used by ISDM to carefully select tree species that provide maximum climate benefits with minimal emissions and higher uptake, preferably contributing to new legislation that promotes species-oriented sustainable management strategies.
The communities of the Mamirauá Reserve are dependent on natural resource extraction and are particularly involved in forest management. These activities generate tree waste, which currently remains in the forest. The second part of the project therefore evaluates the potential of tree waste leftovers to produce biogas and biofertilizer. Biogas solutions offer a strategic way for waste management and the production of renewable energy, fuel and biofertilizer, which ultimately contributes to decarbonisation.
The outcomes of the project can be seen as both positive for the environment as well as beneficial for the local population. However, these outcomes must also be accepted and perceived as socially and economically beneficial by the communities. In order to investigate the preconditions for the introduction of new management methods from the perspective of the local population, the team involves the communities living in the forest area. The purpose is to understand their livelihoods, the challenges they face and their perceptions of the project.
“Through community involvement, the project seeks to promote and facilitate the adoption of management practices that minimise CH4 and N2O emissions and provide potential economic benefits through waste to gas and fertilizer productionVeronica Brodén Gyberg, Senior Lecturer in environmental change at LiU and SweDev member
– a climate win-win situation.”