Amazon Rainforest is at 'tipping point' warns climate scientist
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Wildfires in the Amazon rainforest escalate each year with 24 major wildfires detected so far this year. All of these major fires have been set on land previously defeated in 2020 when the first major blaze was set on land cleared in 2021. But just how much of the Amazon Rainforest has been lost so far.
The Amazon Rainforest is home to one million indigenous people and three million plant and animal species.
The region produces 20 percent of the world’s oxygen, which prompted the name Lungs of Earth.
The rainforest is the most biodiverse region on earth, but in recent years the area has been struck by devastating wildfires.
The 2021 fire season began a few weeks ago with most raging wildfires this year on land deforestation in 2020 – emphasising the connection between deforestation and blazes.
Between 1990 and 2015, the world lost 129 million hectares of forests, destroyed by chainsaws, fire and cement.
Deforestation is advancing at an alarming pace at a rate of around 10 hectares of forest disappearing each minute.
The remainder is mainly the result of human activities such as agriculture, the extraction of raw materials and urbanisation.
The main rainforest basin in the Amazon, Congo and Southeast Congo lose millions of hectares each year.
How big is the Amazon Rainforest?
The Amazon Biome spans 6.7 million km2 which is twice the size of India.
It encompasses the single largest remaining tropical rainforest in the world, with its river accounting for 15 to 16 percent of the world’s total river discharge into the oceans.
The Amazon includes dense tropical forest but also includes several other types of vegetation such as savannas, floodplain forests, grasslands, swamps, bamboos, and palm forests.
The biome is shared by eight countries in total – Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname, as well as the overseas territory of French Guiana.
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How much of the Amazon Rainforest has been destroyed?
The Amazon is losing an excessive amount of forest cover.
Over the last five decades, the rainforest has lost 17 percent of its forest cover according to WWF.
Its connectivity has been increasingly disrupted and many endemic species have been subjected to waves of resource exploitation.
Most of the deforestation (80 percent) was primarily due to cattle ranching.
As for the remaining 20 percent or so, this is also attributed to agriculture such as growing soy to feed animals being raised as livestock, logging, and growing palm oil,
The Amazon’s regression from a carbon sink towards a net carbon source is by no fault of nature.
The Amazon Rainforest’s peak burning season lasts from July to October each year which means the rainforest in South America is likely to lose even more space in the coming months.
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