Deforestation and Tree Extinction in the Amazon

By Shannon Bohman ’19

Aerial Photo

An aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest

 

Scientists have recently concluded that deforestation is threatening more than half of the tree species found in the Amazon. Researchers compared data on tree diameters, leaves, branches, flowers, and fruits to maps of projected deforestation. The analysis was the first quantified estimate of how many Amazonian species were at risk.

The data was run through a computer model under two scenarios. The first model assumed that no further conservation regulations were enacted in the future, and estimated that roughly 40% of the Amazon forest would vanish by 2050. However, the second model assumed that governments would impose more regulations and estimated that 21% of the forest would be gone by 2050. These estimates will be used to update the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the world’s foremost authority on endangered species.

 

References:

  1. Image acquired from: earthrangers.com
  2. ter Steege et al., Estimating the global conservation status of more than 15,000 amazonian tree species. Science Advances. 1. 10, e1500936 (2015).
  3. St. Fleur, Deforestation may threaten majority of amazon tree species, Study Finds. The New York Times (2015).
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