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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Lungs of the Earth

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, March 29, 2014/Categories: natural history, sustainability, environment

Amazon rainforests are often referred to as the "lungs of the Earth" for their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen and water vapor into the atmosphere. This ability has now been quantified by a 7-year long project.

The new study--- The Amazon Inhales More Carbon than It Emits ---has determined that intact, living rainforest consumes more carbon than dead trees emit. According to JPL, the idea arose from a workshop where investigators from several nations came together to identify satellite instruments that might help them better understand the Amazon's carbon cycle.

Amazon Rainforest  (credit: JPL)

These rainforests are under constant threat from illegal logging, clearing for agriculture, fires, and a litany of other abuses. The new research reminds us that maintaining healthy "lungs" requires constant attention to keep the forest environment in good order. We wouldn't want them to stop 'breathing".



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