Decimated by 2064
A University of Florida professor has predicted the large forest, often described as the Earth's lungs, will collapse by 2064. Robert Walker, a professor on the faculty of the university's Center for Latin American Studies, explained to UPI how the forest will end up decimated by 2064.
"The best way to think of the forest ecosystem is that it's a pump," Walker told UPI. "The forest recycles moisture, which supports regional rainfall. If you continue to destroy the forest, the rainfall amount drops ... and eventually, you wreck the pump," he continued.
The forest, says Walker, can recover from small periodic droughts, but not the longer more severe droughts its been exposed to in recent years. In fact, dry seasons have been extending by 6.5 days per decade.
"If southern Amazonia's dry season continues lengthening as it has over the past few decades, the drought of 2005 will become the region's new normal before the end of the century," Walker wrote.
Poverty and poor use of resources
Walker added that it's not just climate change that is drying up the forest. Poverty and poor use of resources are also to blame. "The people there, they don't worry so much about biodiversity, the environment, when they have to worry about eating their next meal," he explained.
Walker also had criticisms for Brazil's conservative president Jair Bolsonaro for the forest's demise.
"The upshot is that the deforestation rate has begun to rise, if slowly, after reaching its historic low point in 2012," Walker said, adding that Bolsonaro's administration "appears intent on scrapping all remaining restraints on the unfettered exploitation of Amazonia's natural resources."
The study is published online in the journal Environment.