Amazon rainforest will collapse by 2050

The news that everyone feared was confirmed by a study published on Nature

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Amazon rainforest will collapse by 2050
© Victor Moriyama / Stringer Getty Images

Unfortunately we are finally here. The news that no one wanted to hear has arrived. The Amazon rainforest could pass the point of no return in 2050. 10% to 47% of the ecosystem risks collapse under the weight of stress caused by water scarcity, climate change and deforestation.

The consequences would be dramatic not only for South America, but for our entire beloved planet.

The international study led by the Federal University of Santa Caterina in Brazil published on Nature, said that the only possibility is to immediately stop deforestation and restore the deforested areas. A utopia, in short.

The Amazon forest hosts 10% of the Earth's biodiversity, stores carbon equivalent to 15-20 years' global emissions and contributes decisively to stabilizing the Earth's climate.

Amazon trees store huge amounts of carbon which, if released, could accelerate global warming. Previous studies have shown that the Amazon temporarily acted as a carbon sink during the 2015 drought.

Amazon rainforest
Amazon rainforest© Victor Moriyama / Stringer Getty Images
 

Amazon rainforest will collapse by 2050

According to the results obtained, the Amazon forest could reach a critical point by 2050: once this threshold is exceeded, a large part of the ecosystem would be at risk of collapse, significantly worsening the effects of the climate crisis.

Bernardo Flores, of the University of Santa Catarina and lead author, explained: "Compound disturbances are increasingly common within the Amazon core; if these disturbances act synergistically, we may observe unexpected ecosystem transitions in areas previously considered resilient, such as the humid forests of the western and central Amazon."

Adriane Esquivel-Muelbert, from the Birmingham Forestry Research Institute and co-author of the study, added: "We have evidence that rising temperatures, extreme droughts and fires can affect forest functioning and change species trees that have the function of enriching the forest system. With global climate change reaching unprecedented levels of speed, we are increasingly likely to see cycles of positive responses, in which, rather than being able to repair itself, forest loss becomes self-reinforcing."