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15 July 2021

How the Amazon rainforest now emits more carbon than it absorbs

Even after excluding forest fires, parts of the Amazon rainforest are now net emitters of carbon.

By Patrick Scott

Parts of the Amazon rainforest are now net emitters of carbon even without forest fires, according to research. All four regions of the Amazon jungle are net emitters of CO2 when the emissions caused by forest fires are factored in, but the south-east region puts more CO2 into the atmosphere through the decay of natural matter than it absorbs through photosynthesis, a paper submitted to the journal Nature found.

The Amazon rainforest is a net carbon emitter
Grams of carbon emitted per square metre per day, 2010-2018

The study involved analysing hundreds of readings taken by planes flying over the forest between 2010 and 2018. The authors state that deforestation in Brazil as well as the effects of climate change are making it harder for forests to absorb carbon.

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