Human activity is driving Amazon extinction
Several scientists, including a researcher from the University of Friborg, have warned about the critical health of the planet’s green lungs.
In just a few decades, human activity has affected Amazonian ecosystems over millions of years of natural evolution. This is the conclusion of a study published in the journal Science, in which a researcher from the University of Friborg participated.
The 19 contributing scientists, including Juan Carrillo on the Friborg side, who come from seven countries, are sounding the alarm, the University of Friborg said in a press release on Friday. Often described as the planet’s green lungs, the Amazon rainforest has a fundamental influence on climate.
“This means that the ecosystems, the plant and animal species and the human communities that live there, cannot adapt to it.”
Forests alone contribute 16% to terrestrial photosynthesis, thereby regulating the carbon and water cycles. The vast ecosystem is also home to nearly one-tenth of the plant and animal species. Threatened by human activities, it has already lost nearly 20% of the area it occupied at the beginning of European colonization.
According to an abstract from the University of Friborg, the study makes a worrying observation: Human-caused changes in Amazon ecosystems are hundreds or even thousands of times faster than changes caused by climate and geological conditions. In the past million years.
Scientists have compared the pace of anthropogenic environmental changes caused by natural factors in the Amazon, South America, but globally. They relied on data compiled by the Science Group for Amazon ( SPA ) report.
These document changes over time in terms of biodiversity and cultural diversity of the Amazonian ecosystem. Deforestation, forest fires, soil erosion, damming of rivers and desertification due to global climate change are the main drivers of the destruction and degradation of the Amazonian ecosystem.
Juan Carrillo, a paleobiologist at the University of Friborg, contributed to the report by studying fossils from the region. He was able to observe the “high speed” of changes caused by human activities. “Ecosystems, the plant and animal species and the human communities that live there, cannot adapt to it,” the researcher concludes.
The pace of deforestation in the Amazon is turning this dense forest into a barren landscape. With an area of 10,000 square meters, the Amazon rainforest contains more plant species than the entire continent of Europe. “If the forest disappears, we will lose countless species before we can study them,” says Juan Carrillo.
Not to mention that such a change has enormous consequences for the planet’s climate: as a carbon sink, the Amazon risks becoming a source of CO2. These upheavals will not only affect the people of the Amazon basin, but also the people of other continents.
“Concerned but not pessimistic”, scientists hope political authorities will take the necessary steps to protect the planet’s green lungs. “There are still patches of forest in the Amazon that we need to preserve and protect,” notes the University of Friborg researcher.
“It is also possible to restore degraded areas and draw inspiration from indigenous communities that have lived in a sustainable way for thousands of years,” he notes.
Did you find an error?Please let us know.
“Avid gamer. Social media geek. Proud troublemaker. Thinker. Travel fan. Problem solver.”