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Deforested parts of Amazon

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The Amazon absorbs 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year (or 5% of annual emissions), which makes it a vital part of preventing climate change. The new research suggests Up to one fifth of the Amazon rainforest is emitting more CO2 than it absorbs.

One of the main causes is deforestation.

While trees are growing they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; dead trees release it again. Millions of trees have been lost to logging and fires in recent years. The Amazon is one of the Earth’s vital organs. A vast ocean of green breathing in the carbon dioxide that we pump into the air helping to slow the pace of climate change. But the lungs of the planet are unwell.

We are losing Amazon. For decades, scientists have talked of an Amazon tipping point. The point at which the forest loses its ability to renew itself and begins to emit more CO2 that it absorbs. That point was decades away but the result of a new study shared worldwide suggests that in one part of the forest, around 5.5 million sq km of dense, damp vegetation absorbs vast amounts of carbon. It is called a carbon sink. A billion tonnes of CO2 a year is still a considerable amount almost three times in UK’s official estimate of net emissions for 2018, but clearly there is a downward trend and one of the principal causes is deforestation. Put simply,growing tree absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Dead trees release it again.After almost a decade in decline, deforestation in the Amazon has increases significantly in recent years. The next question is, can anything be done to prevent a wider Amazon tipping point. The answer is probably, the suggestion is a moratorium…five years with no deforestation or fire. But a moratorium on all deforestation looks unlikely for now. Saving Amazon is a political responsibility now but the science suggests that choice may not be on offer for very much longer.

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