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Amazon rainforest could face ‘large-scale collapse’ by 2050, study warns

Amazon rainforest could

A recent study published in Nature warns that the Amazon rainforest, often referred to as the “lungs of the Earth,” is on the verge of a dire future. Lead author Bernardo Flores and his team highlight the convergence of human-induced stressors, such as global warming and deforestation, which could lead to a large-scale collapse of the Amazon as early as 2050.

Bernardo Flores, from the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Florianopolis, Brazil, states, “We are approaching a potential large-scale tipping point, and we may be closer (both at local scales and across the whole system) than we previously thought.”

By analyzing data from computer models and historical observations, researchers identified five key stressors – global warming, rainfall patterns, dry season length, and deforestation. The study reveals that the combination of these stressors could create a tipping point, where even minor disturbances lead to irreversible ecological damage.

The research predicts that by 2050, somewhere between 10% to 47% of the Amazon rainforest could face compounding stresses, potentially triggering unexpected ecosystem transitions and exacerbating regional climate change.

This grim scenario not only threatens the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the rainforest but also jeopardizes its crucial role as a carbon sink. The vast expanse of trees in the Amazon serves as a vital carbon sink, regulating global climate patterns. However, increased deforestation and climate change-induced disturbances could lead to the forest releasing more carbon than it absorbs, intensifying the global effects of climate change.

Co-author of the study, Dr. Adriane Esquivel-Muelbert, warns of the potential for self-reinforced forest loss, where the Amazon’s ability to recover is compromised by escalating environmental pressures.

Amazon rainforest could face ‘large-scale collapse’ by 2050, study warns

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