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Deforestation brings the Amazon to a point of no return

Deforestation in Amazon affect the livelihoods of 477 million people who live in that region spread among nine nations


Deforestation is increasing in the Amazon forest, whose integrity may reach a point of no return. Directly affecting 47 million people and aggravating the planetary climate and biodiversity crises.

Amazon forests completely lost

According to the WWF’s “Amazon Viva 2022” report, presented at the world climate summit in this Egyptian city. 18% of the Amazon forests have been completely lost. Another 17% are degraded and data from first half of this year show that damage continues to grow.

The loss of the Amazon biome can directly affect the livelihoods of 477 million people. Lives in that region spread among nine nations. Including 511 different indigenous groups, as well as 10% of the planet’s biodiversity, WWF indicated.

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The report was presented at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) of the UN Convention on Climate Change. Which brings together representatives of most of the world’s govts in this resort city on the shores of Red Sea.

One of the consequences of the loss of the Amazon biome is that it would make impossible a central objective of the climate summits, that of keeping the increase in global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius in relation to the pre-industrial era (1850- 1900).

That goal cannot be met, according to the report. If the Amazon rainforest is lost, since its vegetation and soil store between 367 and 733 gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2). The main greenhouse gas that warms the atmosphere.

“At the same time, the carbon stored for centuries in the Amazon is also being released at an accelerated rate due to deforestation, fires and unsustainable productive activities,” the text added.

Amazon rainforest | Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, ne… | Flickr
Deforestation in Amazon: Source: Flickr

Global effort to protect Amazon

The WWF said that joining the clamor of Amazonian indigenous organizations. It proposes “a global effort to protect 80% of the Amazon by the year 2025”.

A month ago, a meeting of indigenous organizations from the Amazon, in Lima, launched the 80×25 initiative, to protect, 244 million hectares. An area larger than Algeria and almost as large as Argentina, whose biome is at risk.

“Up to 20% of the forests have been destroyed, by an oil well, by illegal mining, fires, logging, introduction of monocultures and cattle ranching,” said the indigenous Venezuelan curripaco Gregorio Díaz Mirabal.

He added that the indigenous peoples of the Amazon “no longer want the forest area to drop below 80%.”

Amazon biome

According to the Amazon Geo-referenced Socio-Environmental Information Network (Raisg), of the 7,004,120 square kilometers of the Amazon biome there are still 2,441,607 (244 million hectares) exposed to extractive activities as they do not have the protective status of protected areas or territories natives.

For this reason, WWF proposed “securing and expanding a mosaic of protected areas and protected indigenous territories”. Which “should be equitably governed and managed, together with integrated approaches to landscape management for conservation and sustainable development”.

Also required is “a high-level political commitment that directly addresses the main drivers of Amazon loss. Such as deforestation, illegal mining, corruption, the indiscriminate use of wildlife and other natural resources. And unplanned infrastructure.”

At COP27, the president of Colombia proposed “saving Amazon as a substantial part of an agenda for solving climate crisis”. And proposed creating a new multilateral fund “capable of financing social forces for 20 years, peasant women, farmers” present in the area.

These groups, “generally humble people, are today agents of destruction of the jungle.” This is why, according to Petro, they should be “transformed into a positive force, which means paying them monthly for environmental services, for caring for and letting the Amazon rainforest grow.”

For this fund, Colombia will have 200 million dollars a year. And Petro said that it has the support of its neighbour Venezuela and hopes to obtain it from Brazil. As mentioned Brazil occupies more than 60% of the Amazon.

Advance of deforestation

The initiative proposes legal recognition, demarcation and financing of the territories of indigenous peoples. And stopping the advance of deforestation, especially that which is carried out illegally and on a commercial scale, in primary forests, of high biological value or in areas that are reaching local points of no return.

Likewise, promote a development model that stops the drivers of deforestation and degradation. Finance a large-scale ecological restoration program. And protect biodiversity and threatened species.

Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest | Aerial view of the Am… | Flickr
Deforestation in Amazon. Source: Flickr

“Meeting the 80×25 goal is part of a global effort to establish a transition towards an ecologically healthy Amazon, a shift towards social equity, inclusive economic development and global responsibility”, summarized Kurt Holle, director of Amazon Coordination in the WWF.

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