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Brazilian scientists alert Brazilian scientists to the danger of deforestation in the world’s largest Savanna
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Brazilian scientists alert Brazilian scientists to the danger of deforestation in the world’s largest Savanna

Brazil’s Cerrado saw the highest levels of deforestation since 2015. Scientists raised alarm on Monday about the state the world’s most species rich savanna, a major carbon sink, and the danger of climate change.

The Cerrado, the world’s largest savanna spread across several states of Brazil, is often called an “upside-down forest” because of the deep roots its plants sink into the ground to survive seasonal droughts and fires. The Cerrado’s destruction of trees, grasses, and other plants is a major source for Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, it is less densely wooded than the Amazon rainforest.

According to Inpe, Brazil’s national space research agency, deforestation and other clearances occurred in the Cerrado, increasing by 8% to 8,531 kilometers in the 12 month period through July. This is more than 10x the area of New York City’s 783.84 sq km. Mercedes Bustamante from the University of Brasilia, an ecologist, said that it was extremely alarming.

Bustamante also attacked the government for not being transparent about the announcement of the deforestation data for New Year’s Eve. Scientists are particularly concerned by the additional destruction, given that half of Cerrado has already been destroyed since the 1970s, mostly for farming or ranching.

Manuel Ferreira, a geographer from the Federal University of Goias, said that “You’re transforming thousands of kilometers per year.” “Few other places have witnessed such rapid transformations.”

Ferreira stated that new species of animal and plant species are being discovered regularly in the Cerrado, and that they are likely being destroyed before they can be studied. After falling from their highs in early 2000s, the Cerrado’s deforestation has been increasing since Jair Bolsonaro, right-wing President, took office in 2019, calling on more farming and development to protect sensitive ecosystems.

Bustamante, along with other scientists, blame Bolsonaro’s pro-development rhetoric and for allowing deforestation. Bolsonaro’s office did not respond to a request to comment immediately. Bolsonaro has previously stated that his policies were meant to lift the country’s interior out of poverty. He also pointed out that Brazil has retained far more of its territory then Europe or the United States.

Ane Alencar, science director at the non profit Amazon Environmental Research Institute, stated that “Deforestation represents the most naked indicator of the terrible environment policy of this government.”

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff. It is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.

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