According to the draft of a scientific report published on Wednesday, over 10,000 species of plants and animals in the Amazon rainforest are currently at risk of extinction due to deforestation.
The 33-chapter report was produced by the Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA). It comprises studies on the Amazon rainforest conducted by 200 scientists from around the world.
The report calls for the restoration of deforested areas. It also says that it “is critical” to cut forest degradation to zero in less than ten years.
The soil and vegetation of the Amazon store around 200 billion tonnes of carbon, according to the report. The current rate of its destruction endangers more than 8,000 endemic plants and 2,300 animals.
According to the University of Brasilia professor Mercedes Bustamante, climate change and biodiversity decline also put the human race at risk.
“There is a narrow window of opportunity to change this trajectory,” Bustamante continued. “The fate of Amazon is central to the solution to the global crises.”
The rate of deforestation in Brazil has increased since right-wing president Jail Bolsonaro was elected in 2019. It reached the highest rate in 12 years last year.
The Bolsonaro regime has weakened the environmental enforcement agencies and promoted mining and land-opening for agriculture in protected areas of the Amazon.
Deforestation in neighbouring Colombia also rose by eight percent in 2020 to 171,685 hectares (424,000 acres). Almost 64 percent of Amazon’s current total destruction took place in the country.
According to Marielos Pena-Claros, a professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, it is important to keep the main goal to be protecting existing vegetation and water bodies as restoration efforts can be too expensive.
“Restoration actions can be costly and complex to implement, so it’s actually better to avoid deforestation and degradation so that we don’t need to take restorative actions,” the professor said.