An international fund to protect the Amazon forest launched by Brazil this month marks an important step in harnessing the forest's wealth in less destructive ways, a leading Amazon expert said on Thursday.
The $100 million initially pledged by Norway would only have a marginal impact on deforestation even if it was repeated for 20 years, said Carlos Nobre, a senior scientist at the National Institute for Space Research.
But by setting a precedent for alternative investments in the Amazon, the fund could stimulate sustainable industries such as rubber and latex that are potentially many times more lucrative than the now-dominant cattle and timber industries.
"That kind of money is not going to change anything. However, I see these initial funds as important elements to create a new economic paradigm for the Amazon," Nobre said.
"It is much more important they (the funds) are used to develop alternatives, not only for law ...