Over 2000 animals risk extinction in Amazon, science report says

Harpy eagle, photo: Wildfaces via Canva
Harpy eagle, photo: Wildfaces via Canva

Around 2,300 animals and 8,000 endemic plants are at high risk of extinction due to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, according to a scientific report published on Wednesday. 35% of the Amazon rainforest has already been deforested or degraded.

Produced by the Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA), the 33-chapter report brings together research on the world’s largest rainforest from 200 scientists from across the globe.

Some of the animals that live in the Amazon Rainforest include jaguars, anteaters, sloths, river dolphins, macaws, anacondas, glass frogs, iguanas, harpy eagles, poison dart frogs and thousands of other animals, including birds, reptiles and fish species.

Cutting deforestation and forest degradation to zero in less than a decade “is critical,” the report said. 18% of the Amazon rainforest has already been deforested, according to the report – primarily for agriculture and illegal timber. Another 17% has been degraded.

Climate change
“There is a narrow window of opportunity to change this trajectory,” Mercedes Bustamante, professor at the University of Brasilia, said during a virtual panel discussion, adding that “the fate of Amazon is central to the solution to the global crises.”

The rainforest is vital against climate change both for the carbon it absorbs and what it stores. According to the report, the soil and vegetation of the Amazon hold about 200 billion tonnes of carbon, more than five times the whole world’s annual CO2 emissions.

A separate study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday showed that some parts of the Amazon are emitting more carbon than they absorb.

The study is based on measurements of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide taken from above the rainforest in southeastern Amazonia, where deforestation is fierce, between 2010 and 2018.

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