Amazon Could Collapse Within Half a Century If Tipping Point Reached

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Once a tipping point is reached, the world’s largest ecosystems could collapse at accelerated speed—the Amazon could take 49 years and the Caribbean coral reef just 15 years, scientists have warned.

Researchers writing in Nature Communications say that “regime shifts” tend to have a disproportionate effect on larger ecosystems. This means that though they tend to shift more slowly than smaller ecosystems, they do so disproportionately faster.

For the study, the researchers analyzed empirical data collected from 42 ecosystems from across the world—four terrestrial, 25 marine and 13 freshwater-based, and then confirmed their findings using five separate computational models.