Amazon deforestation is causing nearly 20 percent of its forests, which serve as one of the world’s most massive carbon sinks, to release more carbon than they absorb, an extensive study after observing a decade of carbon emissions found. It is actually releasing carbon instead of capturing it.
Professor Luciana Gatti, a researcher at National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil, lead a decade-long study and measured carbon by flying airplanes equipped with carbon sensors every two weeks over various parts of the forest. The results which are yet to be published showed that around 20 percent of the forest, mainly in the south-eastern section, had become an emitter of greenhouse gases instead of a carbon sink.
In Brazil, recent 2019 wildfires released nearly 392,000,000 metric tons of CO2 in 2019, and that is without considering all the final numbers from the last year. The previous year’s fires in Brazil resulted in total carbon emissions equivalent to 80 percent and more than greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil in 2018.
“In our calculations, if we exceed that 20-25 percent of deforestation and global warming continues unabated with high emission scenarios, then the tipping point would be reached,” said Nobre to the BBC. “Today, we are at about 17 percent.”