How close is the Amazon tipping point? Forest loss in the east changes the equation
cientists warn that the Amazon is approaching a tipping point beyond which it would begin to transition from a lush tropical forest into a dry, degraded savanna. This point may be reached when 25% of the forest is lost.
In a newly released report, the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) estimates that 13.2% of the original Amazon forest biome has been lost due to deforestation and other causes.
However, when the map is divided into thirds, it shows that 31% of the eastern Amazon has been lost. Moisture cycles through the forest from east to west, creating up to half of all rainfall across the Amazon. The 31% figure is critical, the report says, “because the tipping point will likely be triggered in the east.”
Experts say the upcoming elections in Brazil could have dramatic consequences for the Amazon, and to avert the tipping point we must lower emissions, undertake ambitious reforestation projects, and build an economy based on the standing forest. Granting and honoring Indigenous land tenure and protected areas are also key strategies.