(Click on banner to go to the Mission 2006 website)

Marta's Website


Mission 2006
Professor Kip Hodges

Last Updated:             23 November 2002

Team 1: Public Relations, Data Management, Legal, and Political

Marta Luczynska

Mission Statement:       Develop a way to characterize and monitor the well-being of one of the last true frontiers on Earth -
                                        the Amazon Basin Rainforest - and devise a set of practical strategies to ensure its preservations.

Team Goals:

Section 1:

Area of Expertise: Characterization
Explanation of Role:  Concentrating on finding extra information on the characterization of the Amazon

Section 2:

Research to Date :

November 14-24, 2002 In the process of trying to find some extra characterization information, I finally went through the Convention on Biological Diversity Report. Here are the summarized findings:

                     - Biodiversity as a whole and by its dimensions, represents an incalculable guarantee, an insurance for the future against the unexpected, providing alternatives and opportunities
                       under adverse conditions. (p.12)
                     - The Commission for Genetic Resources of the FAO (United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization) noted that more than half of the varieties of the world's twenty most
                        important foods, including those with unique genes allowing adaptation to different soils, climates, diseases, and pests, have been lost since the beginning of the century. (p.12)
                        Therefore, in the future, we will depend more on hybrid species to create new varieties which can adapt accordingly to the environment so that the world has adequate food supplies.
                     - Biodiversity holds the key to substituting increasing scarce materials, especially true for those of mineral origin. (p.12)
                     - The agribusiness sector, for example, accounts for about 40% of Brazil's GNP while forestry accounts for 4% and fisheries for 1%. Products of biological diversity, such as coffee,
                       soybeans, and oranges represent 31% of Brazilian exports. (p.12)
                     - More than 3 million people are employed in plant extractivism and fisheries. (p.12)
                     - Plant biomass, including sugar-cane alcohol, firewood, and charcoal from native and from planted forests, provides 26% of the country's energy demands. In the Northeast, for example,
                        this figure is over 50% for domestic consumption and industry. (p.12)
                     - Demand for the use of medicinal plants is also increasing. This includes both therapeutic and alternative medicine. (p.12)
                     - Biological resources can be used to produce the following: pharmaceutical products such as antibiotics, anti-neoplastic drugs, substances to combat hypertension, neuroactive substances,
                       and immunomodulators; and various other products such as materials for cosmetics, natural coloring agents, flavoring, essential oils, biodegradable polymers, pheromnones, bioinsecticides
                       and enzymes (latter two are of biotechnical interest). (p.200)
                     - Benefits to agriculture (p.219)
                              ~ Stock of organisms allows for natural biological control.
                              ~ The participation and use of organisms in maintaining the natural cycles (i.e. water, energy, nitrogen, and carbon)
                              ~ Serve as pollinators.
                              ~ Form symbiotic associations.
                              ~ Wild forms have genetic resistance.                      - Fauna and flora comprise at least 10% to 20% of the world's species. The flora, has 20% to 22% (50,000-56,000) of the world's described species of higher plants. (p.12)
                     - Mammals and amphibians comprise of at least 10% of the world's species. There are 524 species of mammals, 77 of which are primates. This number constitutes 27% of the world's total
                       species of mammals, which makes Brazil the most diverse in this major group. Amphibians, consisting of 517 species, make Brazil rank second for amphibian diversity in the world. (p.12)
                     - Freshwater fish comprise 3,000 species. This is twice the number of species of freshwater fish in any other country making Brazil the most diverse in this group as well. (p. 13)
                     - Brazil is additionally the most diverse in vascular plants, whose species are estimated to be 50,000. (p.13)
                     - Other species include: 3,131 non-fish vertebrates, of which 259 are endangered or vulnerable, and 1,677 species of birds, of which over 191 are endemic. (p.13)                      - Most of its economy is based on non-native species. Sugar-cane comes from New Guinea, coffee from Ethiopia, rice from the Philippines, and soybeans and oranges from China. Forestry
                       depends on Eucalyptus from Australia and pines from Central America. Cattle-ranches use African grasses for pasture, Indian cattle, and horses from central Asia. Fish-farms depend on
                       carp from China and Tilapia from East Africa. The bee-keeping industry depends on bees from Europe and Africa. (p.12)                       - The Amazon constitutes 40% of the world's largest remaining rain forest. 3.7 million km^2 lie in Brazil. (p.13)
                      - About 15% of the Amazon forest has now been destroyed, with the opening up of highways, through mining, colonization, timber exploitation, and with the advance of the agriculture frontier.
                        (p.14) Losses range from 40% loss of native vegetation of the Cerrado, 50% loss in Caatinga, 91.25% of the original Atlantic forest.
                      - Bryophytes are good ecological indicators since they are extremely vulnerable and depend on undisturbed vegetation. They are very sensitive to atmospheric pollution and depend directly
                        on rainwater. (p.31)
                      - Brazil contributes 8.05% to the world trade in timber. (p.45)                      - United Nations Development Program (UNDP), GEF, and the Federal Government (all of which sponsored the co-coordinating and implementing of the Convention on Biological Diversity)
                       (p.14) The GEF also provide d(U.S. $2 million for PROBIO and U.S. $20 million for the initial capital FUNBIO  the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund) (p.15)
                     - FUNBIO  provides long-term support for projects on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. (p.15) FUNBIO is also the largest fund for biodiversity projects established in
                       any country. (p. 196)
                     - National Environment Fund (FNMA)  has financed activities such as research, training, and implementation of environmental education programs in and around protected areas.
                     - The Ministry of the Environment and the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq), both of which have helped fund PROBIO (U.S. $2 million each) (p.15)
                     - FNMA has also supported various initiatives in environmental education, including training courses, environmental awareness campaigns, publications, and promotional materials including
                       videos, booklets, books, periodicals, information leaflets, and audio-visual material. (p.178)
                     - Inter-American Development Bank  IDB, USAID, WWF, and the governments of France and Canada  These groups have provided funds directly to non-governmental organizations working
                        in the areas surrounding protected areas, in general involving programs for rural extension, cooperativism, and environmental education. (p.68)
                     - National Environment Program (PNMA)  largest source of funding for federal protected areas. It invested U.S. $25.69 million in protected areas from 1991-1996. (p.67)                      - General Coordination for Biological Diversity (COBIO)  purpose is to plan, coordinate, monitor and evaluate action taken connected to the conservation and sustainable use of Brazilian
                        biodiversity, especially those of PRONABIO which is Brazil's National Biodiversity Program. (p.14)
                     - National Council for the Environment (CONAMA)  formulates and regulates environmental policy at the national level (p.17), and advises, studies, and proposes guidelines for government
                       policies for the environment and natural resources. (p.148)
                     - Government Council  advises the President on the formulation of national policy and guidelines for the environment and environmental resources. (p.148)
                     - The Chamber of Natural Resources Policies  formulates public policies and guidelines for natural resources and coordinates in their implementation. (p.148)
                     - The Commission of Policy and Sustainable Development  proposes sustainable development policies and strategies and coordinates the drafting and implementation of Brazilian Agenda 21.
                     - National Defense Council  proposes criteria and conditions for the use of security areas of National Territory and gives opinions on the preservation or exploration of natural resources in these
                       areas. Also deliberates on matters related to national sovereignty and the defense of the democratic state. (p.148)
                     - National Council for the Amazon Region (CONAMAZ)  proposes the establishment and implementation of programs for the sustainable use of the Amazon region. (p.149)
                     - National Council of Agrarian Politics (CNPA)  proposes adjustments or alteration in agricultural policy and maintains a system of analysis and information on the economic and social status
                       of agriculture (p. 149-150)
                     - Inter-sectorial Commission for Action to Protect the Environment, Health, and Productive Activities of Indigenous Communities (FUNAI/MJ) analyzes and approves programs and projects
                       put forward by non-governmental and governmental agencies and establishes priorities on the use of existing financial, material, and human resources. (p.150)
                     - The Public Attorney Office  has powers to open inquiries and take legal action for the enforcement of environmental laws. (p.15)
                              ~ PRONABIO has specific tasks including the ?definition of methodologies, mechanisms and processes; the promotion of international co-operation; the encouragement of research;
                                 the production and dissemination of information; training of personnel; institutional support; raising public awareness; and the development of concrete, demonstrative actions for the
                                conservation of biodiversity and it's sustainable use. (p.14)                      - Migrations due to population increases and sparse income as well as poor living standards, have resulted in migration from rural to urban environment, which in turn has resulted in expansion
                       of agriculture and cattle-ranching, of cattle-ranching, and into preserved Indigenous lands. (p.38)
                     - The population of the nine states of the Northern region of Brazil now stands at about 18 million. (p.39)
                     - The 1996 Report on Human Development in Brazil by the UNDP predicts that the population will stabilize at about 211 million around the year 2020. (p.39)                      - "Amazonia: This is most well-preserved biome, with about 10% allocated to protected areas, and about 85% of the Brazilian Amazon still forested. Fires and forest destruction are generally
                        associated with agriculture, attle-ranching, and selective logging. Amazonia now provides 70% of the national and 2% of the international demand for timber, figures which will increase in the
                        future. Mining is a serious threat to many river systems, and over fishing has become a problem in some of these systems.
                     - Cerrado: In terms of area, agriculture and cattle ranching is increasing by 3% a year. Conversion of the Cerrado ecosystems for economic use involving the total loss of the original vegetation
                        now totals 40% of the area, and more than 50% of the remaining natural ecosystems have been degraded. Burning, both for the maintenance and the creation of cattle pasture and for plantations,
                        is a common practice, and results in soil erosion as well as the loss of biological diversity.
                     - Caatinga: The natural vegetation of this biome now covers less than 50% of the original area, and only less than 1% has been designated as protected areas. Desertification is widespread.
                        Extensive cattle ranching, agriculture, extractivism, and subsistence farming have all had major impacts on this biome. Hunting for food is an important additional factor, especially in the dry season.
                     - Atlantic forest: This is the most threatened of the Brazilian forest biomes, with less than 9% of the original area remaining. Around 80% of the forest is in private hands. Protected areas account
                        for 2% of the original area. Deforestation is the main threat, for agriculture, for mono-cultural reforestation and for housing. Subsistence and commercial extractivism is also an important factor in
                        the south of the state of Bahia as well as the southern states. The Araucaria Forest and the so-called Campos Sulinos (grasslands in the south), distinct ecosystems but considered part of the
                        domain of the Atlantic forest, have been very severely affected by logging agriculture and cattle ranching. Weakening of the soil is an ever-increasing problem. Only about 1% of the original area
                        has been designated as protected areas.
                     - Coastal Zone: Chief threats to the Brazilian coastal ecosystems include real estate speculation, and uncontrolled tourism, over fishing (industrial and subsistence), destruction and subsistence
                       exploitation of mangrove swamps, and the pollution of estuaries (erosion inland, and industrial and urban pollution)."                      - The deforested area in the Amazon region is estimated to have increased from 78 to 501 thousand km^2 from 1978 to 1996. (p.40)
                     - The Project fro Monitoring of Deforested Areas in the Amazon Region (PRODES) routinely monitors the forest cover through the national Institute for Space Research (INPE). It makes a
                        complete annual census of a region the size of Europe. (p.41)
                     - The prime cause of deforestation is conversion of forest into temporary pasture or land for agriculture. (p.41)
                     - IBAMA/INPE report shows that profits from selective longing eventually lead to project that involve clear-cutting. (p.41)
                     - Timber sales from the Amazon constitute 90% of the internal market. (p.41)
                     - IBAMA investigations show that up to 80% of timber commerce in the Amazon is illegal and predatory. (p.41)
                     - Selective logging of just a few tree species is highly wasteful; up to 60%-70% of the trees felled are not marketed. (p.41)                      - For the entire Amazon, the number of IBAMA employees in the field is 280 (but forestry police complement the actions of IBAMA) while the total number of employees for control and inspection
                        is 1,263. (p.44)
                     - Green Protocol aims at promoting sustainable management practices and slowing deforestation.  This program benefits public or private financing agencies which make resources available only
                        to the agricultural, cattle ranching and forestry businesses which attend to the requirements of the maintenance of the Legal Forest Reserve (or which guarantee to meet them within the space
                        of 30 years, as determined by Agricultural Policy Law.) (p.44)
                     - Exemption of the rural land tax (ITR) for areas of Legal Forest Reserves and Areas of Permanent Preservation as well as other areas which the State may declare as of interest for preservation.
                     - IBAMA carried out a major operation in the Amazon called Operation Macaua during the 1997 drought. The operation resulted in the seizure of 533,000m^3 of illegally logged timber and a similar
                       operation is carried out each year during the dry season. (p.45)                      - During the dry season (June to October), fires are monitored daily by satellites NOAA 12 and 14. This monitoring has been going on since 1987 and is carried out by INPE (the National Institute
                        for Space Research) in collaboration with IBAMA as part of PREVFOGO (the National System for the Prevention and Control of Forest Fires). (p47)
                     - 5 Main Objectives of PREVFOGO (verbatim from p.50-59)
                                    ~ "Rural Extension and Dissemination
                                       To organize prevention campaigns and prepare educational material for dissemination and distribution at the national level, in order to make the population aware of the dangers and
                                       damage caused by forest and man-made fires
                                       To train technicians in rural extension to inform farmers and to teach them the necessary requisites and techniques in the use of fire in agriculture, as determined by Edict No. 231/P88
                                       of IBAMA.
                                    ~ Fire Management
                                       Fire damage in federal protected areas has put at risk the preservation of their biodiversity and ecosystems. Minimizing the damage will be made possible through Fire Management
                                       Plans (Planos de Manejo de Fogo) which, by using techniques for the suppression of and controlled use of fire, will reduce their direct and indirect effects on the ecosystem and the
                                       community in general. This objective will give priority to the elaboration of Fire Management Plans for the protected areas annually affected by fires, especially those in the Cerrado
                                    ~ Monitoring
                                        The Satellite System for Monitoring Heat Spots (Sistema de Monitoramento dos Focos de Calor por Satelite - SMS) will be set up at the state level, with the establishment of Fire
                                        Monitoring Centres (Centros de Monitoramento de Incêndi-os), which will receive detailed information of the location of fires detected in each municipality. Through these state
                                        monitoring centres, PREVFOGO will be decentralized in the monitoring, prevention and combat of forest fires.
                                   ~ Training
                                       This objective provides continuity for training in fire-prevention and fire-fighting (formation of fire brigades), aerial combating (training of pilots) and the training of experts in the
                                       detection of the causes of forest fires.
                                   ~ Prevention and Combat
                                       This objective aims to facilitate the prevention and combat of fires in IBAMA's protected areas. Hiring support staff in the form of voluntary and temporary fire brigades, as well
                                       as re-equipping permanent fire brigades, will improve the prevention and control of forest fires in the protected areas administered by IBAMA. The UNDP support, through the Project
                                       BRA/95/028 - Environmental Macro-monitoring and the accompanying technical co-operation agreements, are also expected to continue. IBAMA also plans to step up its activities
                                       through PREVFOGO in environmental education, as well as the prevention and monitoring (with the Departa-mento de Fiscalização - DEFIS) of man-made fires and forest fires."                      - IPAM (Amazon Environmental Research Institute) study revealedThe average area per property burnt each year varied from 5% (properties over 5,000 ha) to 19% (properties under 100 ha).
                       On average, one-fifth of the burnt areas was a result of cutting down and burning primary or selectively logged forest. 70% of what is burnt today is in deforested areas (areas comprised of
                       pasture, forests in regeneration, or other areas of non-forest vegetation). On average, one-tenth of the total areas burnt is primary forest or exploited forest.
                     - Virgin forests act as firebreaks, preventing accidental or intentional fires from spreading from farmland and pasture. If these forests are destroyed and are unable to function as firebreaks,
                        large areas of the Amazon are likely to burn periodically. This will have a negative impact on biodiversity, reducing the forest biomass and the amount of water released into the atmosphere
                       (essential to maintain the water and rain cycles) and making the forest more susceptible to new fires because of the presence of combustible materials such as leaves and dead branches.
                       Enough forest fires can turn the Amazon into a savannah.
                     - Logging and drought are the two main factors that make the Amazon forest combustible. Logging leaves gaps in the forest canopy (up to 50%) which permits the sun to dry the forest floor,
                       which in turn dries the organic material present. Fires can kill off up to one half of the fully-grown trees in left in the exploited forest. Also, fires and removal of trees result in loss of water
                       to the atmosphere and adverse effects on transpiration and the soil.
                        More water drains out to streams and river increasing the risk of flooding. Drought likewise makes large areas of tropical forest more prone to fires.
                     - Studies in collaboration with INPE show that clearing and burning in the Amazon region is concentrated in about 100 municipalities in the states of Para, Mato Grosso, Acre, and Maranhao.

October 21, 2002    The following are a variety of very informative and insightful websites that cover numerous topics pertaining to the overall mission:

CBD (Convention on Biolgoical Diveristy) National Report on Brazil
(Provides information on everything from location of indigenous people, location of federal land reserves, location of forest fires, government environmental funding projects, list of endangered
  flaura and fauna, laws regulating access to and preservation of biological diversity, and more. It's a lot of information to sort through, but a good place to research. All of the links are in pdf
  format so you will need Adobe Acrobat to view them, and some of the them might not be working. They work when they want to.)

Section 1 (Introduction to CBD, map of the Brazilian States, Phytogeographic map of Brazil (vegetation), Invertebrates, Vertebrates, Plants, Micro-organisms and tables related to these topics)
Section 2 (Census maps, monitoring deforestation, socio-economic pressures and their impacts, table of original vs. current acres of forests in Brazilian states)
Section 3 (Maps of monthly variations of forest fires)
Section 4 (More maps of monthly variation of forest fires)
Section 5 (The last of the maps of monthly variation of forest fires, maps of federal and protected areas)
Section 6 (Maps of location of national forest, ecological reserves, and federal ecological stations as well as information on international cooperation in protected areas)
Section 7 (Map of Brazilian Extractivist Reserves and Brazilian ecosystems, tables of percent protected areas and public visitations of national parks)
Section 8 (Map of indigenous lands in Brazil, herbaria table in different states of Brazil, lists of threatened species, project funding)
Section 9 (Table of national councils and commissions that deal with environmental questions, legislation, policies, and programs dealing with biodiversity, reasons for deforestation, media aspects,
                  lists of Brazilian agreements, and funding)

Brazil's Program on Monitoring the Rain Forest (Very informative. Includes the ways in which Brazil will monitor the rain forest using technolgies such as satellites, etc. 2000-2001)
LBA Research Website (Contains research performed / to be performed in the rain forest. The website is split into various subcategories where you can find program descriptions, sample data sets, etc.
                                           Very useful and factual.Includes specific technologies to be used in the research (i.e. rainfall measuring devices). Also has many links to other research projects.)

Section 3:

Goals of the Week:
- Characterizations / Solution compilation
- Further Solution Research

Section 4:

Important Links:

Research Archives: September 23, 2002 (Includes basic research on what to look for in data management systems)
                                  September 30, 2002 (Continuation of September 23 as well as information on Oracle 9i database)
                                  October 5, 2002 (Includes basic information on north Brazilian States as well as information on required permits and visas)
                                  October 16-21,2002 (Includes information on laws regulating import and export of materials as well as preservation of the environment)
                                  October 27, 2002 (Includes information on the Allowance Trading System used by the EPA to reduce emissions)
                                  November 3, 2002 (Includes extra information on Oracle - all its offers/our reasons for choosing)
                                  November 13, 2002 (In-depth information on the two main laws governing our project in the Amazon)

IBAMA(governing agency of the Brazilian government)
FUNAI(National Indian Foundation)
(Both of the above websites are not in english so you may want to use Babelfish to translate the pages. Just click on translate and enter the website address in the appropriate box.)

Other Areas of Interest:
Information Systems Management Fall 2000 Issue (Article by Chao-Min Chiu discusses XML (EXtensible Markup Language) which is going to be for data what HTML is to documents.
www.braziltourism.org (Brazilian Tourism Agency website)
1-800-7BRAZIL (call for information concerning Brazil)

Section 5:

Contact Information:

Contact Marta Luczynska via email: mluczyns@mit.edu
Contact Professor Hodges via email: kvhodges@mit.edu