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Title:Amazon CO2 surge linked to weak law enforcement
Author:Matt McGrathEnvironment correspondent
Date:9/22/2022 7:00:23 PM

Carbon emissions in the Amazon region in 2019 and 2020 more than doubled compared to the average of the previous eight years, according to a new study.

Deforestation for agriculture and fires were the main drivers of the increase, according to the authors.

The scientists say that a "collapse" in law enforcement in recent years has encouraged forest clearing.

As home to the largest tropical forest on Earth, the Amazon plays a critical role in maintaining the Earth's climate by storing massive amounts of carbon in trees and soils.

Over the last few decades the forest has been under growing pressure as land has been cleared in Brazil and neighbouring countries, primarily for farming.

Last year researchers published data indicating that the eastern part of the forest was being cut down at such a rate that more carbon was being released than absorbed by the trees and vegetation.

Now the same scientists believe that an explosion of forest clearing in the western part of the Amazon has also turned that region into a source. of carbon emissions

Using small planes, the researchers have collected hundreds of air samples from different parts of the forest over the last ten years.

Their new study shows that in 2019, carbon emissions increased by 89% compared to the annual average of emissions between 2010 and 2018. In 2020, the picture was even worse, with an increase of 122%.

While fires played a role, the main factor was the removal of trees by land clearing, which increased by 75% in 2020.

The scientists say that this is down to the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019. He has cancelled fines and penalties related to deforestation, and pushed hard for the expansion of agriculture in Brazil.

"We hypothesize that the consequences of the collapse in enforcement led to increases in deforestation, biomass burning and degradation producing net carbon losses and enhancing drying...

Date Added:9/23/2022 6:38:55 AM