Amazon soaking up less carbon as tree death rises - New study

2 April 2015

[SAO PAULO] The Amazon rainforest is losing its capacity to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, raising concerns about how the forest will respond to future climate and atmospheric changes, according to a study in Nature.

The study, published on 18 March, found that net uptake of CO2 by the Amazon forest has dropped from two billion tonnes a year in the 1990s to about half that today. This means the forest now sequesters less CO2 than is produced in Latin America, which emits more than a billion tonnes a year.

The authors say the drop in net uptake might be due to the fact that the growing atmospheric CO2 level causes tree death, which has risen by more than a third since the 1980s.

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