The Amazon rainforest may be on the verge of a “tipping point” where it may cease to be a rainforest and become a savanna, according to a new study.
Since the early 2000s, researchers have revealed that more than 75 percent of the rainforest has been affected by this worrying trend.
Scientists believe that deforestation and climate change are to blame for the species’ loss, according to the research co-author and Technische Universität München professor Niklas Boers.
In the great majority of the Amazon rainforest, scientists found that “resilience,” or the ability to bounce back from disasters like drought or fire, has been steadily decreasing thanks to data gleaned through satellite remote sensing.
The study found that the places with the greatest loss of resilience are those that are closer to human activity and those that receive less rainfall.
Overall, evidence reveals that the Amazon rainforest is becoming less robust, which raises the likelihood of widespread dieback. Researchers from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom found that even while the rainforest may appear to be the same, it is losing its ability to rebound after a catastrophic catastrophe like a drought.
Nature Climate Change, a peer-reviewed British magazine, released its findings on Monday.
According to the experts, the Amazon is on the verge of reaching a tipping point, which, if crossed, will cause dieback and turn most of the forest into a savanna. That could have a significant impact on biodiversity, global carbon storage, and climate change, among other issues.
The study found that the decline in resilience was “compatible” with an impending watershed moment, although it did not specify when that point may be reached.
A tipping point in the Amazon rainforest is impossible to forecast because it is such a complicated system, according to study author Chris Boulton, who is also affiliated with the University of Exeter.
A tipping point has been predicted by many scientists, but Boers’ research shows that we are on the verge of crossing it, he added. Amazonian ecosystems are vulnerable to a wide range of variables that could lead to a “tipping point,” including droughts, fires, deforestation, degradation, and climate change.
Hundreds of indigenous peoples live in the Amazon jungle, which stretches over nine countries. Although deforestation for cattle ranching and mining is endangering the health of the Amazon rainforest, it is also a hazard to global health.
The Amazon rainforest plays an important role in climate regulation, according to researchers.
It is estimated that roughly 25 percent of the world’s biodiversity lives in the Amazon rainforest and that it is a major contributor to the natural cycles that are necessary for our planet’s well-being.
During disastrous wildfires in the Amazon in 2019, Rutgers University geographer Laura Schneider noted, “The Amazon is the greatest tract of continuous rainforest on the globe, and it plays a key role in the (Earth’s) climate system.”
As a major contributor to global warming, carbon dioxide (CO2) is a heat-trapping gas that is absorbed by plants.
Earth Innovation Institute head Daniel Nepstad says that his organization’s trees store almost 100 billion tons of carbon, which prevents nearly 400 billion tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere.