Amazon: the “tipping point”, which could transform the forest into savannah, is approaching faster than expected

According to the models of the journal “Nature Climate Change”, global warming alone could push the largest tropical forest in the world towards an irremediable transformation into savannah.

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Under the battering of global warming and deforestation, the Amazon is approaching a “tipping point“which could transform the largest tropical forest in the world into a savannah, according to a study published Monday, March 7 in the journal Nature Climate Change.

To arrive at this alarming new finding, researchers analyzed 25 years of satellite data to assess the resilience of the Amazon rainforest to traumas such as fires or droughts.

And, this key indicator of the overall health of the Amazonian ecosystem has dropped over more than 75% of its surface and up to 50% in resilience capacity in the most abused places, especially near human activities or affected. by droughts.

According to the models, global warming alone could push the Amazonian forest, a carbon sink vital for the balance of the planet, towards an irremediable transformation into savannah. The latest report from the IPCC, the UN climate experts, published a week ago, again alerted to this possibility, which according to certain models could be triggered around 2050.

“But obviously it’s not just climate change, people are cutting or burning the forest, which is a second pressure point”says Tim Lenton, of the British University of Exeter, co-author of the study.“These two factors interact, so there are concerns that the transition will occur even sooner”.

The Brazilian Amazon rainforest, which represents 60% of the total, has already passed according to a recent study by “carbon sink” a net carbon source, releasing over the last decade 20% more of this powerful greenhouse gas than it has absorbed.

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