- According to a report, the continuing destruction may threaten the very ability of the rainforest to function as a carbon sink, with potentially devastating results for the global climate change.
- It is the most detailed assessment of the state of the forest to date and both makes clear the vital role the Amazon plays in global climate and the profound risks it is facing.
The Amazon rainforest
- It is a vital bulwark against climate change both for the carbon it absorbs and what it stores.
- The forests are a critical part of the region’s water cycle. Moisture put into the air by trees is responsible for as much as 35% of the region’s rainfall.
- It is home to the planet’s largest tropical forests, has served as an important absorber of carbon dioxide.
Key highlights of the report:
- More than 10,000 species of plants and animals are at high risk of extinction due to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest – 35% of which has already been deforested or degraded, according to a scientific report.
- It brings together research on the world’s largest rainforest from 200 scientists from across the globe.
- Cutting deforestation and forest degradation to zero in less than a decade “is critical,” the report said.
- It also calls for massive restoration of already destroyed areas.
- According to the report, the soil and vegetation of the Amazon hold about 200 billion tonnes of carbon, more than five times the whole world’s annual CO2 emissions.
- Mining and agriculture in protected areas of the Amazon and weakened environmental enforcement agencies has directly resulted in the rising destruction.
- Of its original size, 18% of the Amazon basin has already been deforested, mostly for agriculture and illegal timber.
- While restoration efforts will play an important role in safeguarding the Amazon, the difficulty of restoring forests means the main goal should be protecting existing vegetation and water bodies.
- The continuing destruction may threaten the very ability of the rainforest to function as a carbon sink, with potentially devastating results for the global climate change.