According to a study by Robert Walker, professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida, much of the Amazon rainforest will turn into a dry, scrubby plain in 2064 . According to his explanations, deforestation and climate change will be the main causes of this event.
Faced with this alarming finding, scientists doing research on the Amazon indicated that this forecast was the most precise ever issued concerning the date of disappearance of this ecosystem from Brazil. Indeed, most researchers working in this part of the world have so far provided only general estimates.
Robert Walker's article entitled “Collision Course: Development Pushes Amazonia Toward Its Tipping Point” was published online on December 23 in the journal Environment.
Drought is likely to become the new normal in the Amazon
In recent decades, droughts have become increasingly frequent and long in the Amazon, especially after the severe drought that occurred in 2005.
According to Walker, deforestation accompanied by warming and climate change are the causes of prolonged periods of drought. In the case of the Amazon, deforestation would be the consequence of a misuse of government resources and also of poverty.
“People there, they don't care so much about biodiversity, the environment, especially when they have to think about what they're going to eat at their next meal,” Walker said. The scientist also explained that the continued extension of the length of the dry season in the southern Amazon could turn drought into a “norm” at the regional level before the end of the century.
A disappearance without return
The Amazon rainforest covers an area of approximately 7 million square kilometers. Lately, the dry season has lengthened by an additional 6.5 days per decade in the southern part of the Amazon. With the intensification of the drought, around 20% of the forest has already been lost.
According to an update from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2019, three major droughts were recorded in the Amazon rainforest, notably in 2005, in 2010 and between 2015 and 2016. The agency called them "of" unique events over the century ”. On the other hand, satellites have shown that forest fires have greatly increased in the Amazon.
According to Walker, local actions will not be enough to save the Amazon as it plays a huge role in storing carbon from carbon dioxide. The latter is a major contributor to climate change.
For Nathan Moore, associate professor of geology at Michigan State University, the article written by Walker allows us to "see the edge." He said Walker has made a real commitment by advancing 2064 as the date of the rainforest's extinction, while other researchers have mostly said "later in the century."
In any case, one thing is certain is that the disappearance of the Amazon, whether in 2064, before or after that date, will have a considerable impact on the entire planet, and even more on the intensity and the impact of climate change.