How Amazon forest loss may affect water—and climate—far away
A surge in deforestation under Brazil's president could "tip" the Amazon, affecting weather and water supplies—in Brazil and beyond.
The president of Brazil has been pursuing his big plans for the Amazon rainforest, even as parts of it burn in massive wildfires.
He has been working to carve more mines and pave new roads. He has been pushing for fewer penalties for cutting down trees, and he has promised to halt growth of a network of indigenous forest reserves.
When Jair Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old retired Brazilian military officer, took the helm in January of a country that manages 1.5 million square miles of the Amazon, the risks to wildlife and indigenous tribal communities were hotly debated. With Bolsonaro's plans, deforestation rates in Brazil could quickly triple, according to an assessment by scientists.
But the consequences of Bolsonaro's policies