The Amazon Drought and Biodiversity Loss
As climate change continues to worsen, the conditions of the Earth’s ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest remains susceptible to drought and deforestation, slowly eliminating its biodiversity. According to CNN, a new study reveals that human activity and extreme droughts are causing far more damage to the Amazon rainforest than previously thought, in turn, exacerbating climate change (Laura Paddison, 2023). While these impacts seem irreversible, Brazil maintains hope for prevention by putting the future of their ecosystems into the hands of passionate politicians and foundations such as WWF.
Figure 1: Logging in the Amazon W, Johnathan. (2023)
The Amazon Drought
Over the years, human activity that contributes to deforestation and drought has degraded more than one third of the Amazon rainforest. (Jonathan Watts, 2023). Increasing exponentially, the Amazon is threatened by deforestation and degradation. As a result, surface water has been lost, and rivers continue to be polluted (WWF, 2022). The Amazon Rainforest is responsible for regulating the climate, generating rainfall, storing carbon, and providing a feasible habitat for biodiversity while maintaining itself as an ecosystem (Johnathan Watts, 2023). While the rainforest suffers drought, biodiversity will not cooperate with each other to sustain life.
Loss of Biodiversity
The Amazon rainforest houses a wide array of species. The WWF attributes species distribution to 9% of mammals, 14% of birds; 8% of amphibians; 13% of freshwater fish species; and 22% of vascular plant species (WWF, 2022). However, species are at significant risk of declining and even going extinct with droughts. According to a recent report by IPBES, an estimated one million species are at risk of extinction. This rate has accelerated in the last 40 years, with threatened and vulnerable species across taxa (Ashley Thomson, 2020).
Figure 2: Logging in the Amazon W, Johnathan. (2023)
A significant factor that was influencing the droughts and deforestation within the Amazon rainforest was Brazil’s former right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro was infamous for implementing policies encouraging deforestation and habitat destruction in the Amazon. However, left-wing Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva has recently been sworn in as Brazil’s new president. In his first speech, Lula vowed to build a country in “terrible ruins” (Katy Watson, 2023). This includes the rebuilding of the Amazon rainforest. Lula has reappointed Marina Silva assist in accomplishing the pledge for Amazon’s “zero deforestation” policy by 2030 (Katy Watson, 2023).
Figure 3: Da Silva being elected. W, Katy. (2023)
The Amazon Rainforest is under severe threat from deforestation and droughts. The more deforestation continues to occur, the more susceptible the Amazon rainforest is to droughts from a lack of precipitation and carbon absorption. While the diversity of biodiversity needs to be protected, Brazil can only accomplish this by continuing to implement policies that can protect the biodiversity and the droughts in the Amazon. As Brazil progresses with the restoration of the Amazon rainforest, entire ecosystems will reform, wildlife will seek extra protection and a balance between carbon and oxygen levels will be attained.