Amazon Rainforest Feared to Be ‘Past Point of No-Return’

In a shocking, but not entirely surprising development, Antonio Donato Nobre—a leading Amazon rainforest conservation expert—says the actions of the Bolsonaro government in Brazil may have put the viability of the complex Amazon rainforest ecosystem beyond the point of no-return. This is because of a convergence of two major destructive forces—deforestation and climate disruption.

The industrial-scale deforestation of releases huge volumes of heat-trapping “greenhouse gases”, exacerbating the global heating trend that has led to worldwide climate disruption. Climate disruption in turn has the effect of interfering with rainfall patterns, reducing fresh water stores in mountain glaciers, and drying out the region. These forces combine to make out of control wildfires all but inevitable.

Last year’s Amazon fires were more than a wake-up call; they were a sign that the Amazon is now experiencing a trend toward systemic collapse.

While we address the plante-wide human emergency of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, we cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that multiple planetary emergencies are converging in places like the Amazon—putting major ecosystems and anchors of the biosphere at risk.


Image at top: Satellite mapping of the devastating fires that swept through the rainforest in August last year. Image: NASA Earth Observatory