Warning from the tropics: rainforests are losing their ability to help humanity

An international team led by geographers from the University of Leeds, UK, reports on page 80 of Nature International Weekly Journal of Science Nature 579 (2020) issue, that the Amazon rainforest has been absorbing less atmospheric carbon each year since the early 1990s. Forests in Africa have also been absorbing less atmospheric carbon since around 2015. This is due in large part to rising tree mortality.

The Amazonian carbon sink is on course to disappear completely by 2035. If that happens it will result in more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and therefore more global warming.

f tropical carbon sinks can no longer be fully relied upon to help reach that target, it means more ambitious decarbonization will be needed.

At the same time, the lesson for governments around the world is clear enough: tropical forests are working for humanity — and for countless other creatures. To protect them, humanity must halt both deforestation and global warming.

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