Due to a combination of degradation and deforestation, 26% of the whole Amazon rainforest has already met a critical threshold where it is transitioning from forest to grassland.
The report, which was produced by a group of Indigenous leaders and scientists, asserts that it is still possible to save the rainforest, but that we must take immediate action.
Jessika Garcia the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA), said that it presents fresh proof that the Amazon is already experiencing a crisis. Garcia is a contributor to COICA. On September 5, she announced the findings, saying that the breaking point is no longer in the future; it is in the present.
Overall, the results highlight how crucial it is to protect a substantial chunk of the Amazon by 2025, and not 2030, as some parties have suggested. Overall, the findings emphasize the importance of protecting a significant portion of Amazon by 2025, not 2030, as some entities have suggested.
The study’s authors wrote that for the planet’s largest continuous forest, the more than 500 different indigenous nationalities and other groups that live there, as well as for humanity as a whole, a horizon of 2030 could be disastrous.
The percentage of the Amazon that has crossed the threshold where it turns from forest to savanna is the part of the new report that worries me the most. If the entire forest exceeded this limit, the region would turn into grassland. It will then switch from storing to releasing carbon dioxide, aggravating the climate crisis.
The data, which covers 1985 to 2020, reported that 26% of the Amazon rainforest was already degraded or deforested enough to reach this critical threshold. 20% is reported to be subject to “irreversible land use change,” while the other 6% is extremely degraded. 90% of these at-risk regions were found in either Brazil or Bolivia, with Brazil being in control of 82% of the degraded forest. The Brazilian Amazon is either changing or severely degraded in 34 percent of its area.
The authors pointed out in their study that given the fact that two-thirds of the Amazon lies within Brazil, this fact puts the entire region in danger.
Agriculture, Cattle Grazing, Greed
Overall, the main cause of Amazon deforestation is agriculture, particularly the grazing of cattle. Since 1985, the amount of forest land used for farming has tripled, and removing rainforest areas to raise cattle is to blame for nearly 2% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the leadership of President Jair Bolsonaro, who has prioritized resource extraction over environmental protections and Indigenous rights, the Brazilian Amazon has come under increased pressure over the last three years.
Nara Baré, a former coordinator from Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, said that they are seeing a government in Brazil that has a brazenly anti-indigenous state policy and works tirelessly to make illegal activities legal. The obvious manifestation of historical rights violations suffered by Brazil’s indigenous peoples for many years is the rapacious destruction and greed directed at their ancestral lands, the Amazon, in the northern area of the nation.
While the scenario in Brazil may be the most urgent, 66% of the forest is threatened by legal or illegal stressors such as agriculture, mining, the extraction of fossil fuels, or the construction of dams and roads.
Marlene Quintanilla of RAISG said that the Amazon plays a vital role in ecology, however, over the last 20 years, land-use shift and deforestation have managed to reach extremely high levels, with over 500 million hectares of forest lost. Quintanilla is the lead author of the report.
Another worrying development over the past 20 years has been the increase in Amazonian forest fires, which have destroyed over 100 million hectares. In 2020 alone, there will be 27 million hectares of forest destroyed by fires in the Amazon, Treehugger reports.
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