On October 5th, 2020, Nature Communications published an article talking about how the Amazon Rainforest might turn into a savanna. The article includes information based on computer models and data analysis. By the end of the century, 40% of the Amazon Rainforest could be a savanna. Here is an explanation of why this might happen.
The researchers behind this study are from Europe’s Stockholm University, Radboud University, Utrecht University, and Wageningen University. They think that the amount of rainfall in the Amazon Rainforest will go down if we keep exploiting it and the whole planet. This would cause the fire and drought rates to go up, which would cause 40% of the Amazon to slowly become a savanna.
In the Amazon, there is constant deforestation and climate change. There are people who purposely set land on fire so they can raise cattle, use it for mining, grow soybeans for livestock, and harvest lumber and palm oil. The thousands of fires every month also contribute to deforestation.
To regulate its climate, the Amazon Rainforest relies on trees to regulate rainfall and climate. But, fewer trees and rising greenhouse gas emissions are causing the Amazon to be drier, have higher flammability, less rainfall, and parts to transition into a savanna.
The Amazon Rainforest is on track to turn into a savanna after the end of this century. However, there are strong efforts trying to prevent this from happening. Colombia is trying to plant 180 million trees in order to reduce deforestation by 30% by 2022. If not, it will take multiple decades for the rainforest to return to its original state, and many plants and animals will lose their homes.