With forest conversion fast approaching the 20-25% threshold, the Amazon basin is nearing a catastrophic tipping point. Accelerated by climate change, the biome’s capacity to store carbon is rapidly diminishing; its ecosystems – currently home to 10% of the Earth’s known species and 410 ethnic groups – are firing on all cylinders to regenerate in the face of agricultural expansion, illegal mining and logging. Unless we act soon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest could soon become a savannah-like system, catapulting the Earth’s climate into disarray. This plenary will unpack the science of the tipping point, shed light on its drivers and frame its impacts through global to local level lenses. Panelists will explore the diverse social, economic, political and environmental dynamics of Amazonian countries, and give voice to those on the tipping point’s frontlines. Bringing together leaders from across the region, the session will close with an urgent call for action: we have a unique opportunity to catalyze collective change for the Amazon, now.
Moderator: Isabel Mesquita