Satellite images show the Amazon rainforest is hurtling toward a ‘tipping point’ According to the Washington Post, more than half of the rainforest could turn into savanna — threatening wildlife, shifting weather patterns and fueling climate change. Viewed from space, the Amazon rainforest doesn’t look like an ecosystem on the brink. Clouds still coalesce from the breath of some 390 billion trees. Rivers snake their way through what appears to be a sea of endless green. Yet satellite images taken over the past several decades reveal that more than 75% of the rainforest is losing resilience, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. The vegetation is drier and takes longer to regenerate after a disturbance. Even the most densely forested tracts struggle to bounce back. This widespread weakness offers an early warning sign that the Amazon is nearing its “tipping point,” the study’s authors say. Amid rising temperatures and other human pressures, the ecosystem could suffer sudden and irreversible dieback converting more than half into savanna in a matter of decades.
U.N. Warns Climate Change Harming Planet Faster Than We Can Adapt According to the NY Times, the dangers of climate change are mounting so rapidly that they could soon overwhelm the ability of both nature and humanity to adapt unless greenhouse gas emissions are quickly reduced, according to a major new scientific report. The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, experts convened by the United Nations, is the most detailed look yet at the threats posed by global warming. It concludes that nations aren’t doing nearly enough to protect cities, farms, and coastlines from the hazards that climate change has unleashed so far, such as record droughts and rising seas, let alone from the even greater disasters in store as the planet continues to warm.
Relocating farmland could turn back clock 20 years on carbon emissions, say University of Cambridge scientists who have produced a map showing where the world’s major food crops should be grown to maximize yield and minimize environmental impact, Science Daily reports. This would capture large amounts of carbon, increase biodiversity, and cut agricultural use of freshwater to zero. The map of agriculture includes large new farming areas for many major crops around the cornbelt in the mid-western United States, and in Africa below the Sahara desert. Huge areas of farmland in Europe and India would be restored to natural habitat. The researchers used global maps of 25 major crops, including wheat, barley and soybean, which together account for over three-quarters of global croplands. The redesign would cut the carbon impact of croplands by 71%, increase biodiversity by 87%, and eliminate irrigation needs altogether, by growing where rainfall provides all the water needed.
Editors: Jane DeMarines, L.A. Frank. “Food Is Climate” takes its name from the lauded book of same name by Glen Merzer. It was distributed at COP 26 in Glasgow where I obtained it. We highly recommend this slim volume.—J.D. Available at Amazon.