Brazil’s lush Amazon rainforest could become a vast, grassy savannawithin the century if fires and global warming continue, a Brazilian scientistsaid Tuesday.
“Nearly all scenarios point to a ‘savannization’ in 50 to 100 years,”Brazil’s National Space Studies Institute scientist Carlos Nobre said at thethird conference on a Large-Scale Project for the Biosphere and Atmosphere ofAmazonia.
“In the worst case, the forest loses some 60 percent of its area. In thebest, everything continues as it is now. In the intermediate case, 20 percent ofits area disappears,” he said.
“Even without deforestation, global warming could cause a ‘savannization’of 20 to 30 percent” of the Amazon rain forest.
According to official sources, from the 1970s through 2002, fires destroyedmore than 630,000 square kilometers (243,244 square miles) of the Amazon’s 3.68million square kilometers (1.42 million square miles), or 70 percent of the rainforest.
Nobre said the combined forces of deforestation, soy bean cultivation andlivestock have already had an impact on the climate, locally as well asinternationally.
Eight hundred scientists will present their work before the conference closeson Thursday.