RAMPANT deforestation means that the Amazon rainforest may now be making climate change WORSE, according to a shock new study. Researchers analysing the abundance of planet-heating gases say the world’s largest tropical forest likely pumps out more greenhouse emissions than it absorbs. They place the blame on logging and forest fires that have contributed to the loss of 1million square kilometres of Amazon rainforest since the 1970s. Historically, the Amazon has been one of the planet’s biggest carbon sinks, caching billions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year. Its huge ecosystem of plantlife draws carbon dioxide (CO2) and converts it into oxygen via a process known as photosynthesis. The new research, from a group of nearly 30 scientists in North and South America, suggests this vital process is at risk. With unbridled droughts, land clearing and fires, the forest is now releasing more greenhouse emissions than it stores in plants and soil. It means that the rainforest is potentially warming the climate more than it is cooling it, according to the researchers. It also means that we can no longer rely on the Amazon to offset emissions from human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels. A paper on the shocking find was… Read full this story
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