How Does Climate Change Affect The Rainforest

5 min read

How Does Climate Change Affect The Rainforest – Why deforestation means less rain in tropical rainforests A new study finds that deforestation means less rain in tropical rainforests, with serious consequences for agriculture, drought and climate resilience.

A view of the Amazon rainforest area in northern Brazil on September 2, 2022. Douglas Magno/AFP/Getty Images Secret capture of crops and fires.

How Does Climate Change Affect The Rainforest

How Does Climate Change Affect The Rainforest

A view of an area of ​​the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil on September 2, 2022 that has been depopulated and burned.

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A new study finds that forest loss is changing weather patterns in the three largest remaining tropical rainforests.

The study, published last month in the journal Nature, found that widespread clearing of tree trunks – known as deforestation – reduces the amount of rainfall in tropical rainforests that generate their own rainfall. When it rains, trees absorb and use water. They then release moisture through evaporation and through the leaves. That moist air rises and helps form clouds, which in turn produce more rain.

According to the study authors, this process, called rain recycling, accounts for up to 41% of rainfall in the Amazon and up to 50% in Congo. When trees are cut down, this cycle is interrupted, preventing rain production and drought. Reduced rainfall recycling due to forest loss, the researchers say, has serious consequences for agriculture, hydropower generation and climate resilience, as well as for the rainforest itself.

“Global efforts to restore large areas of degraded and depopulated land could increase precipitation, reversing some of the reductions in precipitation observed here due to forest loss,” the authors wrote. They called for renewed efforts to protect rainforests and urged world leaders to fulfill their commitments to stop deforestation.

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The study examined satellite data on rainfall and forest loss in the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon, which covers nine countries; Congo Basin, the second largest rainforest area of ​​six countries; and Southeast Asia, home to Indonesia’s powerful Leuser ecosystem.

Devastated forest blocks are cleared after 2,100 hectares of forest were cleared to make way for oil palm plantations in the heart of the Congo forest basin near Kisangani, Republic of Congo, on September 25, 2019. Samir Tounsi/AFP/Getty Images Hidden capture

Scarred trunks in a forest area after 2,100 hectares of forest were cleared for an oil palm plantation in the heart of the Congo forest basin near Kisangani, Republic of Congo, on September 25, 2019.

How Does Climate Change Affect The Rainforest

Each of these rainforests is losing trees mainly to agricultural use. The Amazon has lost much of its forest – more than about 60 million hectares between 2000 and 2010 alone. Much of the deforestation in the Amazon results in soy cultivation and cattle ranching.

Rainforest Climate Action Fund

In Indonesia, peatland forests are being razed for profitable plantations of palm oil, a low-cost oil commonly used in food packaging, cleaning and beauty products and, increasingly, biofuels. The palm oil industry, logging and illegal deforestation by small farmers in West Central Africa are also destroying rainfall in the Congo Basin.

“When we remove trees, we make the environment drier and the lack of moisture, that big cloud over those trees, goes away,” said Senator Callum Smith. researcher at the University of Leeds in England and co-author of the study.

In Congo, deforestation could reduce local rainfall by 8-10% by the end of the century, a study indicates. Scientists are also seeing an impact on Amazon.

“It’s important to remember that it’s only because of forest loss,” Smith said of the Congo prediction. “We are seeing the effects of climate change.”

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Robin Averbeck, forestry program director at the Rainforest Action Network, said global forests are key to regulating precipitation and global temperature. They also capture carbon dioxide, which is a major contributor to human-caused climate change. But this gas is released when trees are cut down or burned.

“When we cut down forests, we lose one of the most important natural defenses against climate change. This applies not only to forests, but also to other ecosystems,” said Ave. Even the depletion and burning of peatland for plantations of palm oil, particularly in Indonesia, releases carbon into the atmosphere.

Rangers cut down illegal palm trees within the Leuser Ecosystem, a protected rainforest in Indonesia’s Aceh province, on January 9, 2019. President Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

How Does Climate Change Affect The Rainforest

A collection of illegally cut palm trees within the protected Leuser rainforest ecosystem in Aceh province, Indonesia, on January 9, 2019.

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Averbeck said banks, companies and governments should significantly establish and enforce regulations and policies to prevent future unfinanced deforestation or crops or crops grown on disadvantaged lands. They also say that securing and protecting indigenous land rights is a critical step in preventing deforestation and rights abuses before they occur.

Native lands contain the remaining 80% of the planet’s biodiversity, Averbek pointed out. For this reason,avereckius said it is critical that indigenous peoples are able to resist development and that governments and societies respect their will.

In Brazil, deforestation fell dramatically thanks to law enforcement under Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, president from 2003 to 2010. Deforestation grew in the country and reached a 15-year high in 2021 under former president Jair Bolsonaro. Lula, who regained the presidency this year, campaigned to preserve the Amazon and protect indigenous communities.

A firefighter works to put out a large fire in Porto Jofre, Brazil, on September 4, 2021. Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images

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In Porto Jofre, Brazil, on September 4, 2021, he worked to put out a large forest fire.

Unlike Indonesia and the Brazilian Amazon, the Congo Basin has seen significant forest loss due to poverty and small farmers trying to survive, said Frances Seymour, a senior at the World Resources Institute, a non-profit organization. -global profit working with leaders. the problems Addressing deforestation in the Congo Basin is more complicated, she said.

“What is really needed is a comprehensive approach to rural development that gives these communities access to improved agricultural methods and cleaner energy sources and more, so that they can have a dignified life and a dignified life that does not require exploitation of forest resources,” Seymour said.

How Does Climate Change Affect The Rainforest

He says it is important for companies and governments to distinguish between illegal operations, such as the illegal opening of palm oil plantations, illegal road building and deforestation or corruption – and poorer communities dependent on rainwater because without other resources.

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“There’s a real moral problem in applying the law against people who have nothing else, some of the most vulnerable people in the world,” she said.

Bernardo Flores, an economist at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil, says the Amazon region is already experiencing higher temperatures. According to a 2018 study, temperatures have risen more than 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 40 years. Flores fears the rainforest is approaching a tipping point.

“You would leave this main effect with the loss of rain. Then you would lose a lot of the Amazon,” he said. “We don’t want to be able to control it anymore.”

The Amazon, home to millions of species, has absorbed a large amount of pollution as carbon dioxide emissions have increased over the past 50 years. Species such as the jaguar, seen here in 2021, and the harpy eagle are threatened by deforestation. Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images hides the caption

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The Amazon, home to millions of species, has absorbed a large amount of pollution as carbon dioxide emissions have increased over the past 50 years. Species such as the jaguar, seen here in 2021, and the harpy eagle are threatened by deforestation.

This has meant great importance for the world’s ecosystems – around a third of all freshwater fish species are found in the Amazon, Congo and Mekong basins – as well as for indigenous communities and local farmers.

Flores said stopping deforestation is important, but it’s not a complete solution. Rainforests also need global temperatures to rise.

How Does Climate Change Affect The Rainforest

“Amazon is important to everyone in the world,” Flores said. “When humanity faces problems in the future that we can’t even imagine now, solutions can come from Amazon.” Tropical deforestation south of Lake Kutubu, Papua New Guinea. Credit: Minden Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo.

Deforestation In The Amazon Rainforest: Causes, Effects, Solutions

The study found that the average warmest day of the year in Europe, North America and Asia is significantly more intense due to deforestation that has occurred since the start of the industrial revolution.

The research examines the dual impact that deforestation has on the climate: first, deforestation releases CO2 into the atmosphere where it contributes to rising global temperatures; second, the large impact it can have on physical processes in the local climate – which can have a larger net warming or cooling effect.

The combined impact of deforestation in some areas was so great that by around 1980 it had more effect on rising temperatures on the hottest days than on greenhouse gas emissions, the lead author tells Carbon Brief.

The findings suggest that planting trees – through afforestation or reforestation – may be the way to go

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