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Scientist says the Amazon doesn’t really produce 20% of the world’s oxygen

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The protection of the Amazon rain forest should be a global priority although not all information regarding the forest is true.

The wildfires, a staggering 80% higher than last year,  currently raging across the Amazon have already destroyed thousands of acres of trees and vegetation, threatening not only the complex ecosystems in the region but will also impact our planet and potentially affect our climate for the worse.

One important Amazon ‘fact’, crediting the rain forest for producing 20% of our planet’s oxygen, is actually false.

Truth is, the Amazon rain forest does not produce 20% of the planet’s oxygen, it does however, regulate part of Earth’s carbon cycle, water cycle and climate.

So, how much oxygen does it generate? Climate scientist, Professor Michael E Mann tweeted this answer“The 20 percent figure IS too high True number closer to 6 percent as per Jon Foley… and even this is misleading because oxygen levels wouldn’t actually drop by 6 percent if we deforested Amazon.” 

It’s a complicated system but, to put it simply, even if the Amazon did contain 20% of our oxygen, it would not automatically drop by 20% since there are other, lesser known, oxygen generators on the planet such as microscopic phytoplankton in our oceans. However, in this instance, the oxygen is recycled back into the marine biosphere’s own oxygen cycle via respiration.

Scott Denning, professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, mentioned that, “Even if all organic matter on Earth were burned at once, less than 1% of the world’s oxygen would be consumed. There’s enough oxygen in the air to last for millions of years, and the amount is set by geology rather than land use.”

The Amazon’s current situation should concern us all and shows how human activity can destroy important ecosystems and affect climate change.

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