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Collapse of the Amazon is closer than previously thought, says study

The research based on computer simulations shows that risk to ecosystems can increase by up to 80%

São Carlos (SP)

Computer simulations carried out by British scientists have just drawn a worrying picture about the risk of ecosystem collapse in the future, such as the feared transformation of the Amazon into an open and impoverished environment.

According to the study, the greater the complexity of the simulation —that is, the closer to reality—, the greater the chance that these collapses will happen more quickly.

Areas of illegal mining that promote devastation in the Amazon rainforest, in the Tapajós River basin region, in the state of Pará - Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress

"Our work shows that ecosystems can collapse sooner than we expected if they are experiencing multiple stresses at the same time", the first author of the study, Simon Willcock, linked to the Rothamsted Research Center and Bangor University (Wales) explained to Folha.

"There could be, for example, a combination of climate change, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity caused by hunting, as well as extreme weather events. All these factors reflect relatively well the stresses that have recently been affecting the Amazon and will continue to affect it in the near future ", sums up Willcock.

Published in the specialized journal Nature Sustainability, the British team's work included other real and theoretical examples of environmental collapse, all simulated in computational models with different degrees of complexity.

Translated by Cassy Dias

Read the article in the original language.