The Earth is breathing more and more badly. His lung is rapidly deteriorating. A few days ago, a study published in Nature Climate Change confirmed that for the first time, the Amazon rainforest no longer fulfills its role of carbon sink. Since 2010, it has emitted more carbon than it absorbs. " This is the first time that we have figures which show that we have shifted and that the Brazilian Amazon is a net emitter of carbon" , explains Jean-Pierre Wigneron, researcher at Inrae and one of the authors of the He adds: "Until now, forests, in particular tropical forests, protected us by helping to slow down global warming, but our last bulwark, the Amazon, is in the process of being turned upside down. "
Population: 211 million inhabitants
Area: 8.516 million km²
Currency: Brazilian real
Common borders: Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, Peru, Bolivia, French Guyana.
The Amazon rainforest represents 60% of the tropical forests on the planet. Together, they are a bulwark against global warming. They slow it down thanks to the absorption of nearly 30% of greenhouse gases emitted by man. If they no longer fulfill this role, the disorder will get out of hand.
In 2020 alone, the virgin tropical forest lost 4.2 million hectares. Among the most affected countries are: Brazil, Congo, Bolivia, Indonesia, Peru, Colombia, Cameroon, Laos, Malaysia and Mexico
the French Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE) explains that: “between 2010 and 2019, this forest lost its biomass: carbon losses in the Brazilian Amazon are about 18% higher than earnings ” . For scientists, this represents a major and unprecedented shift.
Even if for the moment, the other tropical forests are still coming to compensate for the growing breathlessness of the Brazilian Amazon, how long will they be able to hold up at the current rate of their destruction? "The whole of the Amazon has not yet changed, but it could do so soon" the scientist is alarmed.
The causes ? They have been identified for a long time: drought, deforestation, intensive agriculture, fires, selective cutting. According to the study, if deforestation accounts for 27% of carbon losses, 73% would be due to what scientists call multiple “degradations”. They are more discreet and less spectacular than the surfaces devastated by fire but greatly contribute to the weakening of forests.
In the end, the study shows once again that global warming linked to human activities is at the origin of the disappearance of forests. There is danger in our home and there is an urgent need to take the measure because the point of no return is approaching day by day. If we continue to play with fire like this, one day soon it is fire that might play with us.