"Driven largely by the expansion of farm land to meet increasing global demand
for products such as soya bean, over 810,000 km² of forest in the Amazon has
been cleared – an area nearly as big as Norway and Sweden combined.
Deforestation is not only a tragedy for biodiversity, it also releases huge
quantities of carbon dioxide (CO₂) into the atmosphere. Despite a glimmer of
hope in the early 2010s, when deforestation rates plummeted to an all-time low,
forest loss is once again on the rise.
The bulldozers aren’t always the end of the story. Nearly 30% of deforested
land in the Amazon has been abandoned, giving the forest a chance to regrow –
albeit with differing degrees of success, depending on how long and how
intensely the land was used for agriculture. While these recovering habitats,
known as secondary forests, are a poor substitute for the species-rich
old-growth forests they replace, they can rapidly capture large quantities of
CO₂ from the atmosphere.
But in a new study, we discovered that secondary forests across the Amazon are
absorbing just 9.7% of the emissions created by the destruction of old-growth
forests in the region. That’s despite these regrowing habitats occupying 28.8%
of all deforested land."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics