Fifty-four million tonnes a year. This is the amount of carbon that Brazilian and British scientists have found the Amazon Rainforest to be releasing due to increased logging, plantation development, and burning. The level that each one of these activities contributes to destroying the Amazon is more difficult to measure than overall deforestation. However events such as logging, farming, and forest burning all cause deforestation on some scale and, based on a study in the journal Global Change Biology, are thought to account for the 40% carbon loss in the Amazon region.

Forest rich nations say they deserve payment to protect their natural resources, since they perform valuable services for the planet. Photo by Responding to Climate Change (rtcc.org)

Preventing further deforestation and destruction of the rainforest is a good start to preserve the region, however researchers say that it is not a complete solution. Such efforts will be limited in their success without direct focus on the damage caused by timber extraction, burning, and fragmentation.

Attention on these issues specifically resulted in a 70% decrease in deforestation in Brazil since 2004. Scientists estimate that this translated to a 1.5% decline in global carbon emissions in 2013. Rather than looking at deforestation as a whole, addressing the actions at the root of the problem will likely prove to be a more durable and maintainable solution.