Amazon Rainforest May Have Reached The Point Of No Return

Posted: Feb 24 2018, 1:39pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 25 2018, 1:06am CST, in News | Latest Science News

Amazon Rainforest may have Reached the Point of No Return
The deforestation area at the border of Indio's reservation area in Para state, northern Brazil.

Researchers suggest that Amazon Rainforest will reach its tipping point if deforestation extends to 20 percent of its original area

Amazon rainforest may have reached its tipping point and may soon turn into a dry and relatively barren savannah. This is the conclusion drawn by a pair of researchers.

Researchers suggest that large-scale changes in Amazon will not be reversed if deforestation extends to 20 percent of its original area.

The dense forests of the Amazon absorb about a quarter of the world's atmospheric carbon, but persistent environmental changes are wreaking havoc on the rainforest and unsettling its ecosystems.

Deforestation is the most crucial factor in determining whether a forest or a treeless landscape will prevail. In the latest effort, researchers tried to determine the extent of deforestation Amazon must experience before its water cycle stops supporting its ecosystems. Researchers found a tipping point at 20 percent of the deforested area. If Amazon exceeds this limit, its water cycle will degrade to such an extent that it could not support its ecosystems.

“We believe that negative synergies between deforestation, climate change, and widespread use of fire indicate a tipping point for the Amazon system to flip to non-forest ecosystems in eastern, southern and central Amazonia at 20-25% deforestation.” Authors wrote in the study.

In the last 50 years, deforestation has already destroyed about 17 percent of Amazon vegetation, and just three percent is left to cross the point of no return.

"If the climate changes - by deforestation or global warming - there's a risk that more than 50% of the Amazon forest becomes a degraded savannah", said researcher Carlos Nobre from World Resources Institute Brazil.

"The fact that deforestation continues is a bit of a demonstration of the difficulty, or almost bankruptcy, of representative democracy in our South American countries.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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