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The Amazon Stands at the Edge of the Abyss, Article Says

02/22/2018 - 10h06

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REINALDO JOSÉ LOPES
FOLHA CONTRIBUTOR

The Amazon is dangerously approaching the edge of a climatic abyss, two respected researchers said in an editorial published in one of the world's most important journals.

If Brazil and the other countries home to the Amazon do not find a way to stop the deforestation of the biggest tropical forest in the world from reaching 20% of its original area, the chances of a major part of the Amazon simply losing its forest cover completely in a not so distant future will increase a lot.

And this could mean very bad news not only to the biodiversity in the region, but also to the dozens of millions of people across South America who depend on the water managed by the forest - which includes residents of Manaus as well as those in southern Brazil, Uruguay and even areas of Argentina and Paraguay.

Climatologist Carlos Nobre, a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, and biologist Thomas Lovejoy, of the George Mason University (in the state of Virgina, US), are responsible for the warning.

The scientists fear that, although the tipping point of the Amazon system is not known precisely, it would be very bad to make the discovery by tipping the scales, that is, when it is already too late.

"When you start to feel something strange, you make an appointment with the doctor. Well, the uncertainty regarding the effects of climate change is much smaller today than that in such an appointment and even so people do not stop following their doctors' recommendations," says Nobre.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

Read the article in the original language

Antonio Scorza/AFP
An aerial view shows a burnt out sector of the Jamanxim National Forest at an illegal settlement, in the Amazon state of Para, nothern Brazil
An aerial view shows a burnt out sector of the Jamanxim National Forest at an illegal settlement, in the Amazon state of Para, nothern Brazil

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