Deforestation in the Amazon is accelerating the point of no return, warns WWF
Posted on 08 November 2022SHARM El-SHEIKH, Egypt. - WWF’s Living Amazon Report, published today, argues that threats to the integrity of the Amazon must be stopped through urgent measures to protect 80% of the rainforest by 2025 (80x25). Drawing on the latest available research, the report shows that without urgent action, the rainforest could reach a point of no return, directly affecting the livelihoods of the 47 million people living in the Amazon, 511 indigenous peoples groups, 10% of the planet's biodiversity, and aggravating the global climate and biodiversity crises.
Despite the stark warnings that the Amazon faced this point of no return from the Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA) at COP 26, a year on, deforestation is accelerating rather than decreasing. The Panel’s data shows that 18% of Amazon forests have been converted to other uses and an additional 17% are highly degraded.
The report also warns that the vital goal of keeping global warming to 1.5°C cannot be met if the Amazon Rainforest is lost, as it stores between 367 - 733 Gt of CO2 in its vegetation and soils. At the same time, the carbon stored for centuries in the Amazon is also being released at an accelerated rate due to deforestation, fires, and unsustainable production activities.
Reversing this trend, and protecting 80% of the rainforest, will require securing and extending a mosaic of protected areas and protected indigenous territories - currently half of the forest - which must be equitably governed and managed, along with integrated landscape management approaches for conservation and sustainable development, according to WWF. The report argues that saving the Amazon will also require a high-level political commitment that directly addresses the main drivers of Amazon loss such as deforestation, illegal mining, corruption, indiscriminate use of fauna and other natural resources, and infrastructure planned without ecosystem considerations.
"Meeting the 80x25 goal is part of a global effort to transition to an ecologically healthy Amazon. This requires a shift towards social equity, inclusive economic development, and global responsibility” remarked Kurt Holle, WWF’s Amazon Coordination Unit/ Peru Director. In the context of global environmental change, “the Amazon is caught in the intersection between the climate and biodiversity crises, with the destruction of its ecosystems diminishing the possibility of limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C” said Roberto Troya, Regional Director for WWF Latin America and the Caribbean, adding that “urgent action is needed to avoid global repercussions and to ensure that this region can continue to regulate the planet’s climate and to provide environmental and cultural benefits to the world”.
During an event at COP27 launching the report, a global call for key stakeholders from diverse sectors to join the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA)’s 80x25 initiative to protect at least 80% of the Amazon was issued.
According to the group, accomplishing this goal will require: a regional Pan-Amazonian vision with strengthened policies and institutions to implement it; 100% legal recognition, demarcation, and financing of indigenous peoples' territories; moratoria or other policies for halting deforestation, in particular, that which is carried out illegally and at a commercial scale, in primary forests, areas of high biological value, or areas that are already reaching local tipping points; foster a development model that stops the drivers of deforestation and degradation, and promotes deforestation-free supply chains; finance a large-scale ecological restoration program; protect biodiversity and threatened species, among other strategies.
The report can be found at: panda.org/lar2022
For further information please contact:
Valeria Tamayo Cañadas, Communications Lead - Amazon Coordination Unit ACU WWF.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Cel +593 95942 1448
WWF is an independent conservation organization, with more than 35 million followers and a global network active through local leadership in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
About the Living Amazon Report,
The Living Amazon Report is an effort of the WWF network to communicate about the state of the region, it invites us to think of a different Amazon, where humanity recognizes and acknowledges nature's richness, its ecosystem services, and that everything is interconnected so that what happens in the Amazon does not stop there, the biome generates services for all humanity. Living Amazon wants to inspire action beyond the borders of countries and to act urgently to save it.