The draft of a landmark scientific research published on Wednesday has revealed more than 10,000 species of plants and animals are at high risk of extinction owing to the devastation of the Amazon rainforest, 35% of which has already been deforested or destroyed.
It is the most extensive evaluation of the forest's status to date, and it demonstrates both the Amazon's critical role in world climate and the grave threats it faces.
The report, prepared by the Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA), pulls together studies on the world's largest rainforest from 200 scientists from around the world.
The rainforest is an important barrier against climate change, both in terms of the carbon it absorbs and the carbon it stores. According to the assessment, the Amazon's soil and vegetation contain over 200 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which is more than five times the world's yearly carbon emissions.
The research stated that reducing deforestation and forest degradation to zero in less than a decade is "critical." It also called for a massive restoration of places that had already been destroyed.
Furthermore, the report stated that the ongoing degradation caused by human involvement in the Amazon puts over 8,000 endemic flora and 2,300 animals at risk of extinction.
Deforestation in Brazil has increased dramatically since right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro entered office in 2019, reaching a 12-year high last year and eliciting widespread condemnation from foreign governments and the general public.
Bolsonaro has asked for mining and agriculture in Amazonian protected areas, as well as weakening environmental enforcement agencies, which environmentalists and scientists claim has directly contributed to the escalating damage.
Colombia reported last week that deforestation increased by 8% in 2020 compared to 2019 - to 171,685 hectares. Almost 64% of the damage occurred in the country's Amazon region.