The Amazon rainforest is becoming less resilient to the constant hit of climate change.
That’s according to a new study, revealing that since the early 2000s, the rainforest has declined consistently in its ability to recover form droughts or fires.
Researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Technical University of Munich and the University of Exeter worked together on the study and found that on the current trajectory the rainforest could become a savannah or treeless plain.
The ‘tipping point’ has not been given a specific deadline but the researchers stress that there will be one due to the consistent decline witnessed in the last two decades.
Professor Tim Lenton from Exeter explained that this decline cannot be witnessed with the human eye: “The rainforest can look more or less the same, yet it can be losing resilience – making it slower to recover from a major event like a drought.”
Munich University’s Professor Niklas Boers added: “Deforestation and climate change are likely to be the main drivers of this decline. Resilience is being lost faster in parts of the rainforest that are closer to human activity, as well as those with less rainfall.
“Many researchers have theorised that a tipping point could be reached, but our study provides vital empirical evidence that we are approaching that threshold.”