The drivers and impacts of Amazon forest degradation

Lapola, David M. and Pinho, Patricia and Barlow, Jos and Aragão, Luiz E. O. C. and Berenguer, Erika and Carmenta, Rachel and Liddy, Hannah M. and Seixas, Hugo and Silva, Camila V. J. and Silva-Junior, Celso H. L. and Alencar, Ane A. C. and Anderson, Liana O. and Armenteras, Dolors and Brovkin, Victor and Calders, Kim and Chambers, Jeffrey and Chini, Louise and Costa, Marcos H. and Faria, Bruno L. and Fearnside, Philip M. and Ferreira, Joice and Gatti, Luciana and Gutierrez-Velez, Victor Hugo and Han, Zhangang and Hibbard, Kathleen and Koven, Charles and Lawrence, Peter and Pongratz, Julia and Portela, Bruno T. T. and Rounsevell, Mark and Ruane, Alex C. and Schaldach, Rüdiger and da Silva, Sonaira S. and von Randow, Celso and Walker, Wayne S. (2023) The drivers and impacts of Amazon forest degradation. Science, 379 (6630): eabp8622. ISSN 0036-8075

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Approximately 2.5 × 10 6 square kilometers of the Amazon forest are currently degraded by fire, edge effects, timber extraction, and/or extreme drought, representing 38% of all remaining forests in the region. Carbon emissions from this degradation total up to 0.2 petagrams of carbon per year (Pg C year −1 ), which is equivalent to, if not greater than, the emissions from Amazon deforestation (0.06 to 0.21 Pg C year −1 ). Amazon forest degradation can reduce dry-season evapotranspiration by up to 34% and cause as much biodiversity loss as deforestation in human-modified landscapes, generating uneven socioeconomic burdens, mainly to forest dwellers. Projections indicate that degradation will remain a dominant source of carbon emissions independent of deforestation rates. Policies to tackle degradation should be integrated with efforts to curb deforestation and complemented with innovative measures addressing the disturbances that degrade the Amazon forest.

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This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science on 379, 6630 27/01/23, DOI: 10.1126/science.abp8622
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07 Feb 2023 15:05
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10 Apr 2024 00:14