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Amazon may become greenhouse gas emitter

Rain forest could go from sink to source

By
2:47pm, January 23, 2012

In the struggle against global warming, the Amazon rain forest may be about to switch sides.

Its dense vegetation has long helped cool the planet by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But mass tree deaths brought about by recent droughts and deforestation may be pushing the region to a point at which it will give off more of the greenhouse gas than it absorbs.

“The Amazon might still be a sink for carbon, but if it is it’s definitely moving towards being a source,” says Eric Davidson, director of the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Mass. Reporting in the Jan. 19 Nature, Davidson and 14 other researchers from the

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