Research has determined that the Amazon has reached a “tipping point” and has begun to self-destruct, and a “large reforestation project” is needed to save it.
The prestigious journal Science Advances , has published an editorial where scientists Thomas Lovejoy and Carlos Nobre indicated that fires and deforestation have broken the normal process of the rainforest to act as a carbon sink, a biodiversity fortress and a critical link in the water cycle.
Many locations in the Amazon, hit by deforestation, are becoming tropical savannas , which seriously interferes with sustaining the forest to produce rain.
Another scientist, Philip Fearnside , a professor at the National Institute of Amazonian Research in Brazil , also spoke 5 months ago , indicating that the Amazon was on its way to a turning point if deforestation continued.
Amazon: on the verge of destruction
The researchers wrote :
Although 2019 was not the worst year for fires or deforestation in the Amazon, it was the year that the extent of fires and deforestation in the region attracted worldwide attention. ”
Lovejoy and Nobre are clear in suggesting that man-made activities, such as fires and deforestation, will cause irreversible damage to the Amazon and then to humanity.
The beautiful Amazon is on the verge of functional destruction and, with it, we are too. ”
Scientists’ predictions are not encouraging, they portray a terrible short-term future for the green lung of the planet.
The researchers wrote:
Deforestation will lead to the development of savannas mainly in the east and south of the Amazon, perhaps extending to the central and southwest areas, because these areas are naturally close to the minimum amount of rainfall required for the rainforest to thrive. ”
The global warming driven by human worsens the negative process that Amazon is going through, causing reduced rainfall and rising temperatures in the region.
Amazon: we have reached the turning point
According to the authors, there are indications that the inflection point is occurring. An example of this is that the dry season is longer and warmer today, causing droughts never seen and the changing composition of tree species towards those that favor drier climates.
In addition, the role of the Amazon as a carbon sink is decreasing over time as deforestation increases. This will have a greater effect on the global warming process .
Another negative factor is that the destruction of the Amazon would negatively affect its function as a supplier of fresh water to all the countries of South America, except Chile, due to the blockade of the Andes.
The authors wrote:
Stated bluntly, the Amazon not only cannot withstand greater deforestation, but now requires reconstruction as the basis of the hydrological cycle to continue serving as a continental climate factor for the planet and an essential part of the global carbon cycle as it has done it for millennia. ”
Amazon: a large reforestation project is needed to save it
Lovejoy and Nobre indicate that to “rebuild a safety margin”, a ” major reforestation project ” is needed , particularly in the south and east of the Amazon.
The authors wrote:
Any additional increase in deforestation must be matched by triple the reforestation, with details adapted to national levels. ”
They also indicated that the participation of citizens and leaders to save the Amazon is urgent.
The authors wrote:
The citizens and leaders of South America and the world must create and promote a new vision of the Amazon, one that recognizes that the natural and economic assets of the region must be managed to maintain their essential role for South America and in maintaining of the health of the planet. This new vision should respect and protect its natural infrastructure and include a careful review of all related business activities. ”
Last chance to act
Total “illogical and myopic” farming practices , such as monocultures of cattle, soybeans and sugarcane, should be put to a complete end, the researchers said. Instead, the authors suggest that sensible use should be made of intact forests, harnessing the power of mass flow rivers and favoring the sustainable harvest of biological assets.
However, even if these measures are implemented, a latent problem could curb the success of recovering the Amazon: the lack of concern of the Brazilian government, whose territory houses most of the Amazonian territory.
The authors state that it is possible to save the Amazon, as long as this is taken with the seriousness it deserves, and it is recognized that the Amazon should be managed as a system. Only that way would it be possible, they say.
We do not believe that the current Brazilian government is interested in going down in history as the administration that tipped the Amazon towards disappearance / savanization. ”
The authors concluded the article arguing that we are currently in a ” moment of destiny .”
Lovejoy and Nobre wrote:
The turning point is here, it is now. The people and leaders of the Amazon countries together have the power, science and tools to avoid a global environmental disaster on a continental scale. Together, we need the will and imagination to tip the direction of change in favor of a sustainable Amazon. ”
We must be clear: it is our last chance to save the Amazon.
The research entitled ” Amazon turning point: last chance to act ” has been published in the journal Science Advances .