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Scientists warning about deforestation in the Cerrado, Brazil

Spreading across several Brazilian states, the Cerrado is one of the largest savanna in the world and a major carbon sink that helps halt the climate crisis.

The destruction of these trees, grasses and other plants in the Cerrado is a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil. (Reuters)

Last year’s deforestation rose to the highest level since 2015 in the Cerrado, Brazil, and scientists warned of the state of the world’s most abundant savanna. It is a major carbon sink that helps stop the climate crisis.

Straddling several states in Brazil, one of the world’s largest savanna, the Cerrado is called “upside-down forest” deforestation because plants sink deep into the ground to withstand seasonal droughts and fires. Is often.

The destruction of these trees, grasses and other plants in the Cerrado is a major cause of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions, but it is far less dense than the more famous Amazon rainforests that border it.

According to the National Institute for Space Research Impe, serrado deforestation and other native vegetation clearance increased by 8% over the 12 months to July, the official period for measuring Brazilian deforestation, to 8,531 square kilometers. became. This is more than 10 times larger than the area of ​​783.84 square kilometers in New York City.

“It’s very worrisome,” said Mercedes Bustamante, an ecologist at the University of Brasília.

Bustamante also criticized the government for the lack of transparency to publish New Year’s Eve deforestation data.

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Rapid change

Scientists say additional destruction is of particular concern, given that about half of the Cerrado has been destroyed since the 1970s, primarily for agriculture and ranch.

Manuel Ferreira, a geographer at the Federal University of Goias, said:

“Few other places on earth have seen such a rapid change.”

Ferreira said new flora and fauna are regularly discovered in the Cerrado, and many species may have been eradicated before studying.

Since the inauguration of right-wing President Jail Bolsonaro in 2019 after falling from highs in the early 2000s, Cerrado deforestation has sneaked up again, calling for further agriculture and development in sensitive ecosystems.

Cerrado soybean farmland

Last month, Brazil’s soy lobby group said data showed that farmers are increasingly using previously cleared land in the Cerrado rather than logging entirely new areas to plant cash crops. rice field. More than half of Brazil’s soybean land is in the Cerrado.

Bustamante and other scientists have accused Bolsonaro’s rhetoric of promoting development in promoting deforestation and retreating environmental enforcement.

Bolsonaro’s office did not immediately respond to the request for comment. He previously defended his policy as a means of saving the country’s interior from poverty, noting that Brazil protects far more territory than Europe and the United States.

“Deforestation is the most naked and raw indicator of this government’s terrible environmental policy,” said Ane Allenker, science director at the non-profit Amazon Institute for Environmental Studies.

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Source: Reuters

https://www.trtworld.com/americas/scientists-alarmed-at-deforestation-in-brazil-s-cerrado-53274?utm_source=other&utm_medium=rss Scientists warning about deforestation in the Cerrado, Brazil

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