Weather of Arabia - A recent study revealed shocking results related to the devastating impact of human activities and severe drought on the Amazon rainforest, amid calls for the adoption of laws aimed at protecting the "lungs of the earth" and this vital endangered ecosystem.
According to the scientific study published, Friday, in the journal "Science", up to 38% of the Amazon forest, which has an area of 2.5 million square kilometers (equivalent to 10 times the size of the United Kingdom ) has been damaged by human activity and drought.
This is happening as some scientists warn that the Amazon rainforest is approaching a critical tipping point, which could see the forest release massive amounts of carbon, accelerating climate change.
This study looks at the "degradation" that occurs when rainforests are damaged and weakened, undermining their ability to store carbon and support nature and local communities, while many climate studies focus on completely removing trees and changing land use, and the results show that degradation emits amounts of carbon pollution. equal to or even greater than that caused by deforestation.
In addition to increasing carbon pollution, there is also evidence that degraded rainforests are less good at recycling water back into the atmosphere, which would then fall as rain elsewhere, Barlow said.
The study was prepared by an international team of 35 scientists and researchers from institutions including the University of Campinas in Brazil and Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, who analyzed satellite images and other data showing changes in the rainforest between 2001 and 2018, and identified four main drivers of damage, namely: :
These phenomena, with the exception of drought, destroyed at least 5.5 percent of the rest of the area that makes up the Amazon ecosystem, which is equivalent to 364,748 square kilometers, between 2001 and 2018, according to the study.
Jos Barlow, Professor of Conservation Sciences at Lancaster University and co-author of the study, said: “Although there is uncertainty about the overall impact of these disturbances, it is clear that their cumulative impact could be just as harmful as deforestation for carbon emissions and biodiversity loss, and this is a really big contribution.” in the global climate.
These disturbances to forests are likely to remain a major source of carbon pollution in the next two decades, according to projections in the report.
"Even in an optimistic scenario, when there is no more deforestation, the effects of climate change will see forest degradation continue, leading to more carbon emissions," said the study's lead author and researcher at the University of Campinas.
However, he added that "preventing the progression of deforestation remains vital" and could help address other drivers of deforestation.
The study's authors propose a forest monitoring system to better understand rainforest degradation, as well as action to tackle illegal logging and control the use of fire. It also calls for global action to combat climate change to help reduce the impact of severe droughts.
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