Tropical forests are losing their ability to absorb carbon: or become a source of carbon

A new environmental study published in Nature by a national research team suggests that tropical forests around the world are losing the ability to absorb carbon dioxide, raising concerns about climate change, according tomedia reports. The study, led by the University of Leeds, an international federation of European and African scientists, has studied more than 300,000 trees in the Amazon and tropical Africa over the past 30 years.

Tropical forests are losing their ability to absorb carbon: or become a source of carbon

The scientists marked each tree with aluminum nails, measuring the diameter and height of each of the 565 forests, and returned every few years to repeat the process. This allows them to calculate the carbon stored in the trees that survive and die.

The researchers say the data, based on observations, statistical models and trends in emissions, temperature and rainfall, provide the first large-scale evidence that tropical forests are now a third less carbon emitterthan than measured before the 1990s.

Because the Amazon basin is in a higher temperature, changes faster and more arid than African forests, the Amazon basin first began to weaken, and then Africa’s forests are rapidly following suit. And some parts of the Central African Congo Basin showed signs of a decline in carbon absorption as early as 2010.

In 10 years’ time, researchers predict that the African jungle will absorb 14 percent less carbon dioxide than it did 10 to 15 years ago. In addition, trees in the Amazon will not absorb any carbon dioxide by 2035. By 2060, these tropical forests could become carbon sources due to wildfires, deforestation and excessive greenhouse gas emissions.