Climate change could turn up to two thirds of the Amazon rainforest into savanna.If climate change continues unchecked it could, together with deforestation, convert the majority of the Amazon rainforest into savanna, with massive impacts on the world’s biodiversity and climate.
WWF has conducted a scientific literature review of current climate change modelling in the Amazon. It found that widespread drying is likely due to a regional increase of 2–3°C and a decrease in precipitation in the Amazon during dry months.
This will likely lead to much less rain over much of the Amazon during critical dry months. This may cause one and two thirds of today’s Amazonian rain forests to change from rainforest to dry savanna, causing a great loss of species, but also reducing productivity for people and farming.
The climate in northwestern South America, including the Amazon region, has already changed over the last century. For example, the average monthly air temperature records have increased by 0.5–0.8°C from 1990 to 2000.
Currently, the Amazonian forests act as an important sink for carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas emitted mainly from the burning of fossil fuels coal, oil and natural gas, and the major driver of global climate change.
However, up to about 20% of CO2 emissions stem from deforestation. If its destruction continues, the Amazon rainforest could become a net source of CO2