Tag Archives: deforestation

The Study Sounds Recent Warnings Rainforests Turn To Savannas When The Climate Is Warm | Instant News

As the planet warms, it’s not just humans who feel the heat – the trees too. Rising temperatures disrupt the main engine of life on Earth: photosynthesis.

The disproportionate warming in the Cerrado belt is driven not only by rising global temperatures, but also by local deforestation and fragmentation of forest areas. As grasslands and cropland have eaten away at forests, their cooling effects are muted. “

A recent study from Brazil adds to concerns that climate change is changing the face of the planet. Literally. Tropical forests could look more and more like deciduous forests or savanna in the future, according to research based on Brazil’s Cerrado biome. This ecoregion bordering the Amazon Rainforest is a melting pot of savannahs, grasslands and forests.

That paper, published on Environmental Research Letter in March, it focused on four tree species found in the Amazon rainforest and savannas: Qualea parviflora, known as pau – terra in Portuguese; Pseudobombax longiflorum, or Brazilian shaving brush tree; Hymenaea stigonocarpa (Cerrado jatobá); and Macrocarp blobs, also known as angelim.

“This article extends the knowledge of heat tolerance in tropical species in extremely hot regions, testing species that have not been tested before,” said Gotthard Heinrich Krause, professor of plant physiology at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany.

Krause, who was not involved in the research, noted that the paper underscores how “an increase in the number of extreme heat waves, often combined with drought stress,” adds to the heat stress facing trees.

The maximum temperature in the Cerrado region and the surrounding forest can reach 45 ° Celsius (113 ° Fahrenheit). The area has warmed markedly in recent decades, and the heat waves that regularly sweep the region are becoming hotter and drier.

How much a leaf warms depends on how much solar radiation it absorbs and what is lost through conduction and longwave radiation. Leaves facing the harsh tropical sun heat up faster than the surrounding air.

“Prolonged heat exposure can cause damage to leaf tissue, impair photosynthetic efficiency and, consequently, tree fitness,” said Igor Araújo, first author of the new paper and an ecologist at Mato Grosso State University, Brazil.

The disproportionate warming in the Cerrado belt is driven not only by rising global temperatures, but also by local deforestation and fragmentation of forest areas. As grasslands and cropland have eaten away at forests, their cooling effects are muted.


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Trees cool themselves and the surrounding area by passing water through the stomata that decorate the surface of their leaves. This process, together with evaporation, is also the reason why forest areas cause rainfall. “One mature tree in the Amazon can reach 1000 L [264 gallons] water per day, functions as a natural air conditioner for the environment. This process is called the biotic pump, which is reduced by deforestation, “said Araújo.

When faced with scorching heat and dry seasons, the pores of the leaves close tightly to conserve water. “This will reduce or prevent transpirational cooling of the leaves, causing a substantial increase in leaf temperature above air temperature,” says Krause.

The study predicted, for the first time, what temperatures the leaves could tolerate. To do this, the authors calculated the temperature at which critical components of the photosystem were damaged and the temperatures that the leaves experienced. The difference between these two levels is called the thermal safety margin (Tsm).

Krause hopes that the temperatures at which scientists observe permanent damage to leaf tissue will be higher than the researchers expected. This means a wider safety net, but still not sufficient to protect most of the species considered in the study, given the current rate of warming.

It’s not just the tree’s health that’s declining; other scientists have pointed out that heat stress also affects absorption of carbon dioxide by trees. According to Krause, there is a reduction in CO2 absorbed by plants even at temperatures lower than those of short-circuit photosynthetic temperatures. “

Such a hostile environment is dangerous for the leaves and trees. The tree does not shed its leaves as part of a seasonal cycle, but because they do not perform their function of harnessing energy.

The authors found that in some species the maximum leaf temperature already exceeded this threshold. But if the average temperature rose by even 2.5 ° C (4.5 ° F), this would be true for most tree species, they estimate. With an increase of 5 ° C (9 ° F), all tree species studied will suffer from leaf burn.

It’s not just the tree’s health that’s declining; other scientists have pointed out that heat stress also affects absorption of carbon dioxide by trees. According to Krause, there is a reduction in CO2 absorbed by plants even at temperatures lower than the temperature of short circuit photosynthesis. “Such reduction will contribute to the reduction of carbon sinks in tropical forests,” he said.

Currently, savanna species are better adapted to higher temperatures than rainforest species. “Our results thus indicate an expected shift in future decay and thus a trend towards savanna vegetation replacing forest in an area in Southern Amazonia characterized by mostly deforestation,” write the authors. What is happening on the Amazon-Cerrado border may be a precursor to tropical jungle fever around the world. Unlike humans, this forest does not have air conditioning or sunscreen to protect it.


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Living Planet: Reliving the Brazilian rainforest | Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW | Instant News


Over the past 40 years, approximately 1 million square kilometers of rainforest have been destroyed across South America. Two famous Brazilians want to end deforestation and revive the rainforests of their homeland. Sebastiao Salgado, a renowned photographer and forest champion, and musician Gilberto Gil hopes to plant 1 million trees a year. Sonya Diehn presents a report by Ivo Marusczyk.


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How Big Is Our Food Contribution To Global Warming? New Research Reveals Everything | Instant News

Researchers in Europe have revealed an unprecedented picture of the climate impact of the food we eat, from production to consumption.

The new findings show that more than a third – 34% – of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions are generated by the food system. They also showed that food generates an average of 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions per person each year.

The data show which elements of our food production processes are the most dangerous, showing that although the way we use land accounts for the majority of emissions, food distribution and processing methods have become much more energy intensive since the 1990s.

Principal investigators Adrian Leip and Monica Crippa, at the European Commission Joint Research Center (JRC) at Ispra in Italy, spent a year compiling a database, called EDGAR-FOOD, and is touted as “the first global food emissions inventory.” They hope the research, which involves creating a new database covering all aspects of food production, will help policymakers and agencies to more accurately target specific segments of the food industry in global efforts to reduce carbon.

“EU citizens expect sustainable food with a low greenhouse gas footprint,” Leip told Forbes.com. “Our hope is that EDGAR-FOOD will help identify where actions to reduce the food system’s greenhouse gas emissions are most effective.”

Transparent, robust and detailed data, said Leip, are needed for decision makers to understand the complexities of the food system in order to take the right steps to reduce emissions.

“The share of greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use and industrial processing is increasing,” said Leip. “Therefore, food systems need to invest in energy efficiency and decarbonization technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to land-based mitigation technologies, on and off the farm gate.”

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Published in the journal Nature’s Food, the findings include greenhouse gas emissions for 1990–2015. EDGAR-FOOD shows that 71% of food system emissions come from land use for agriculture, while 32% come from “land use change,” including deforestation and land degradation, activities that released 5.7 gigatons of CO2e emissions globally in 2015 alone. That’s more than the emissions that are produced the entire energy consumption of the United States that year.

The database offers an unprecedented level of detail on food production emissions, showing, for example, in terms of food distribution, packaging is the largest emitter, accounting for 5.4% of food system emissions. The results showed that the production of paper and pulp for food packaging alone resulted in an average emission of 59.9 million tonnes of CO2e per year.

Also revealed was the increase in the volume of emissions generated by the increased use of energy in food production, especially in developing countries, where the use of mechanization and pesticides has grown rapidly to match and sometimes surpass developed economies.

Food retail, too, is an increasingly important part of the picture: emissions from the sector tripled between 1990 and 2015, thanks in large part to increasing demand for refrigeration to prevent food from spoiling.

Previous work on food emissions, as published in IPCC Special Report on Climate and Land Change by 2019, it is estimated that food produces between 21% and 37% of man-made emissions. The EDGAR-FOOD database gives an even higher range of 25-42%.

“This [previous] The studies are critical in providing insight into the food system’s greenhouse gas emissions, but the methodology and databases don’t allow it to provide the same level of detail as EDGAR-FOOD, ”explained Leip.

Such insights can help guide schemes like the European Commission Farm to Fork Strategy, various platforms were introduced as part of European Green Deal intended to increase the sustainability of food production at various levels.

“The food system needs transformation,” said Leip. “Mitigation by reducing emissions from deforestation and in agriculture has been the focus of many mitigation policies. But our data also show a significant increase in emissions from energy use, especially post-farm gates, which show the complex relationship between land and energy systems. “


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Brazil is using the pandemic to undermine environmental protection | Instant News

By Donna Lu

A cloud of smoke over a burning area in August 2020 near Lábrea, Amazonas in Brazil

Edmar Barros / AP / Shutterstock

The Brazilian government has passed 57 major laws that weaken environmental protection in the country, and 49 percent of them were put in place in the seven months since the Covid-19 pandemic was announced in March.

Erika Berenguer of the University of Oxford and colleagues analyzed the legislation in the 21 months following January 2019, when President Jair Bolsonaro the government took power, finding that September 2020 was the month with the highest number of measures limiting environmental protection.

“Street …


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Brazil presents a disputed nature conservation scheme for the Amazon region | National | Instant News

RIO DE JANEIRO – Following harsh criticism of its environmental and climate policies, the Brazilian government on Wednesday presented a controversial program for the preservation of nature reserves in the Amazon region.

The scheme dubbed “Park Adoption” allows individuals or companies to sponsor national parks in the Amazon region for a fee of 50 reais (9 dollars) per hectare per year, according to a government statement.

The area of ​​the reserve varies between 2,574 and 3,865,172 hectares. However, it is only possible to “adopt” the entire garden.

French company Carrefour was the first to declare sponsoring a 75,000-hectare “Reserva Extrativista do Lago do Cunia” reserve in the northern state of Rondonia.

Carrefour is currently trying to improve his image in Brazil after the cruel death of a black man in one of his supermarkets in Rio de Janeiro in November.

Greenpeace Brazil has criticized the park initiative as an attempt to disguise reality, accusing the government of shifting responsibility for funding part of the country’s environmental protection to companies.

Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao, chairman of the Amazon Council, told the World Economic Forum in Davos that the country would have no funds left for spending in the Amazon region after the pandemic.

Greenpeace, however, is referring to the Amazon Fund, a private fund that aims to fight deforestation and for the conservation of the Amazon rainforest, and which has been paralyzed since disagreements over its use.

Brazil has faced growing criticism for its management of the Amazon, especially under hardline President Jair Bolsonaro.

Rainforest deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon region has reached its highest point in 12 years, said space agency Inpe, which is responsible for monitoring rainforests, as recently as December.

Between August 2019 and July 2020, 11,088 square kilometers of forest were cut in the area, according to Inpe, which represents the largest area displaced since 2008.

This is equivalent to about 4,340 football fields per day or three soccer fields per minute and compared to the same period last year, deforestation increased by 9.5%.

Bolsonaro sees the region primarily as untapped economic potential and wants to develop more land for agriculture, mining and energy production. He has dismissed international criticism of his environmental policies as meddling in domestic affairs.

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