More than 10,000 species of plants and animals are at high risk of extinction due to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest – 35% of which has already been deforested or degraded, according to the draft of a landmark scientific report published on 14 July. Of its original size, 18% of the Amazon basin has already been deforested, according to the report – mostly for agriculture and illegal timber. Another 17% has been degraded. Furthermore, the continued destruction caused by human interference in the Amazon puts more than 8,000 endemic plants and 2,300 animals at high risk of extinction, the report added.
Brazil once more topped the list for annual primary forest loss with 1.7 million hectares in 2020, much of the loss on forest fires and noted federal forest enforcement agencies faced budget cuts in 2021. The area deforested in May, determined based on satellite images, jumped 41% compared to the same month in 2020, according to daily alerts compiled by the National Institute for Space Research’s Deter monitoring system. In Brazil, deforestation has surged since right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019, reaching a 12-year high last year for mining and agriculture in protected areas of the Amazon and has weakened environmental enforcement agencies, which environmentalists and scientists say has directly resulted in the rising destruction.
WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO SAVE THE RAINFOREST?
According to the report, the soil and vegetation of the Amazon hold about 200 billion tones of carbon, more than five times the whole world’s annual CO2 emissions the destruction threatens the ability of the rainforest to function as a major carbon sink, with potentially devastating results for the global climate change. The rainforest is a vital bulwark against climate change both for the carbon it absorbs and what it stores. A separate study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday showed that some parts of the Amazon are emitting more carbon than they absorb, based on measurements of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide taken from above the rainforest between 2010 and 2018. The increased carbon emissions in south eastern Amazonia, with fierce deforestation is not only the result of fires and direct destruction, but also due to rising tree mortality as severe drought and higher temperatures become more common.
In 21st century Agricultural expansion, wildfires, logging, mining and population growth all fuel deforestation. Cutting down forests has major implications for global goals to curb climate change, as trees absorb about a third of the planet-warming carbon emissions produced worldwide.
Forests also provide food and livelihoods for people living in or near them, are an essential habitat for wildlife, and aid tropical rainfall. One-fifth of the oxygen we breathe,20% of world’s freshwater, half of the species of life is in these forests. It’s an ecosystem the entire world needs for its survival Humans face potentially irreversible and catastrophic risks due to multiple crises, including climate change and biodiversity decline.
Cutting deforestation and forest degradation to zero in less than a decade is critical and is central to the solution of global crisis due to climate change and loss of biodiversity.