Amazon basin losing its carbon-sucking abilities

'Forests are doing us a huge favour, but we can't rely on them to solve the carbon problem,' says Leeds U prof


The lungs of the planet are losing their carbon-storing power.

According to a 30-year survey of evidence from hundreds of international researchers, the Amazon rainforest’s net uptake of carbon dioxide has been halved since the 1990s. The findings, published last week in the journal Nature, involved measuring 200,000 trees in 321 plots and discovered a surge of dying trees. Turns out all that carbon-dioxide-sucking accelerated tree growth, resulting in a “live faster, die younger” effect, according to the study’s co-author, Leeds U prof Oliver Phillips. Drought and soaring temperatures may also have contributed. 

Phillips notes that “Forests are doing us a huge favour, but we can’t rely on them to solve the carbon problem.” He says humans will have to do their part with deeper cuts in emissions to stabilize our climate. 

ecoholic@nowtoronto.com | @ecoholicnation

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