WorldHow Much Oxygen Does the Amazon Rain Forest Provide?
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Tech & Science Amazon Rainforest South America Oxygen Environment. The plight of the Amazon has received widespread attention over the past In this aerial image, smoke covers a section of the Amazon rain forest affected by wildfires on August 25, 2019 in the Candeias do Jamari region near
How much of the world’s oxygen does the Amazon rainforest produce? In fact, the world's oxygen levels are actually quite stable and are not dependent on rain forests , which use up as much of the For the full article see this link: How much oxygen does the Amazon rain forest provide ?
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The plight of the Amazon has receivedor so as reports surfaced that Brazil—which hosts around 60 percent of the world's largest tropical forest—has experienced a .
Amid this coverage, many media outlets, charities, celebrities and even world leaders repeated the claim that the Amazon produces 20 percent of the world's oxygen supply. The implication here is that the destruction of the rain forest poses a threat to this oxygen supply.
What You Should Know About The Fires Raging In The Amazon
The Amazon is on fire.Brazil's space agency said this week that more than 75,000 fires had brokenout across the Amazon rainforest since the start of the year, imperiling oneof the planet's last refuges of biodiversity and raising concern about theregion's ability to combat climate change amid a rollback of environmentalprotections by the country's far-right leader.
The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit Both rely on estimates of how much photosynthesis — or what scientists call primary production — tropical forests do , relative to the total amount done
The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen - is on fire. In truth, the Amazon rainforest accounts for a fraction of oxygen production in the world. According to The Atlantic, it produces approximately 6% of the oxygen that's created by the photosynthetic organisms
But is this true? Experts say the real figure is actually smaller, and furthermore, this way of thinking is misleading given the true nature of the Amazon's effect on global oxygen levels.
"I have seen this 20 percent all over the place on social media, it doesn't really make much sense," Allison Mills, Associate Director of Research Communications at Michigan Technological University, told Newsweek. "There are many, many reasons to be concerned—nay, terrified—by the resurgence of deforestation and burning of Amazonian forests, but a risk to the world's oxygen supply is not one of them."
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In fact, the world's oxygen levels are actually quite stable and are not dependent on rain forests, which use up as much of the gas as they produce in the long run, according to Philip Fearnside, a professor at Brazil's National Institute of Amazonian Research.
"It was a surprise to see the claim that 20 percent of the world's oxygen comes from Amazonia surface on mainstream media, Fearnside told Newsweek. "Amazonia is not a big source of oxygen because trees respire, just like animals. Trees use up most of the oxygen that they produce though photosynthesis."
In photosynthesis, plants capture and store solar energy, using it to convert carbon dioxide in the air into sugar molecules which they use for food, producing oxygen as a byproduct.
"There is a net release of oxygen while the tree is growing and storing carbon in its wood, but when the tree dies the wood rots, removing the same amount of oxygen from the air to form carbon dioxide (CO2) from the carbon in the wood," he said.
"A net release of oxygen occurs only if the carbon sequestered through photosynthesis is buried in a place where it cannot combine with oxygen to form CO2. On a global scale, the main location for this is at the bottom of the ocean, where some of the organisms sink to the bottom when they die and are buried in the sediments."
Essentially, this means that the net effect of the Amazon rain forest on the amount of oxygen in the global atmosphere is "virtually nothing," since the photosynthesis to produce new plant matter is (almost) balanced by microbes decomposing dead plant material, according to Mills.
"The amount of oxygen in the atmosphere is 20.95 percent, and it is not changing very much," she said. "From this perspective, the Amazon could burn up and blow away and the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere would not be much affected—CO2 is another story though."
Mills notes that since 1990, the level of oxygen in the atmosphere has dropped by 0.005 percent—hardly at all.
"This is scientifically detectable and very interesting and useful, but practically it is negligible," she said. "The drop is due to the burning of fossil fuels (mostly) and roughly 10 percent is due to biomass burning associated with deforestation worldwide. If Amazon deforestation were half of all deforestation—it's probably not quite—then just 5 percent of the overall 0.005 percent net decline in oxygen would be due to Amazon deforestation."
So if we lost the entire Amazon forest—it would only change atmospheric oxygen—which is thought to weigh 1.2 million gigatons in total—by a small amount, much less than 1 percent.
But even if the Amazon has a very small effect on the overall level of oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere, can can we still estimate how much it produces? Mills says that tropical vegetation is responsible for about 25 percent of the oxygen that is produced by photosynthesis on land, via trees, shrubs, grasses and other plants.
"The Amazon is, generously, half of the tropics—and certainly somewhat less—so that means, at most, 12 percent of the oxygen produced each year from land photosynthesis comes from the rain forest. However, photosynthesis on land is only about half of global photosynthesis—the other half is in the ocean. So, at most, 6 percent of the oxygen from photosynthesis comes from the Amazon," Mills said. "Keep in mind that even the gross flows of oxygen from photosynthesis are very small, compared to the very large amount of oxygen in the atmosphere."
Andrei Lapenas, a professor of climatology from the University at Albany, SUNY, speaking to Newsweek, put a figure on the Amazon's oxygen production, estimating that the forest consumes and emits about 32 gigatons of oxygen per year.
'I Thought the World Was Ending': What's Fueling the Amazon Rainforest Fires.
Deforestation has been rising since 2015 as Brazil’s recession pushed poorer Brazilians into illegal logging. More than 43,000 fires have burned in the region this year, pitting environmentalists against a defiant president and reviving conspiracy theories about foreign interference.
Amazon: The lungs of our planet by BBC
Importance of the Amazon.
What Happens To Earths Oxygen If The Amazon Rainforest Burns Down?
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The Amazon rain forest has one of the greatest levels of biodiversity on the planet, if not the greatest. This is extremely significant as many places where plastic is found in large quantities, such as landfills or oceans, do not provide sufficient oxygen for most fungi.