According to a new study published in the journal Science Advances, the Amazon rainforest will reach a “point of no return” if deforestation exceeds 20 percent of its original area. Thomas E Lovejoy and Carlos Nobre have researched the effect that various droughts and floods have had on the forest and suggest that the “whole system is oscillating.”
“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,” Nobre told Euronews. “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. Representative democracy no longer functions in Brazil because the will of most of the Brazilian population to preserve the Amazon, it has no correspondence in the political actions that we see emanating from Brasilia, emanating from the Brazilian states.”
“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,”
“We believe that the sensible course is not only to strictly curb further deforestation, but also to build back a margin of safety against the Amazon tipping point, by reducing the deforested area to less than 20%, for the common sense reason that there is no point in discovering the precise tipping point by tipping it,” the scientists said.
Though the Amazon is fast approaching its doom, it is important to note that there is still time to salvage the rainforest. The right kind of human intervention could help steer the forest in the right direction before it’s too late.