When Verum and Scorch returned, Felix was pacing the dorm room. He was clearly worked up about something. Scorch said, “Oi, Felix! You must slow down. The floor will soon begin to wear out because of your stomping.”

“What is bothering you?” said Verum.

“I heard about a study published in the Nature Climate Change journal,” started Felix, “Data shows that the Amazon Rainforest is losing its ability to bounce back from damage caused by droughts, fires, and deforestation. This ability is called ‘resilience’.”

“That is quite serious,” said Scorch, “Could you tell us more about it? After all, it is important to be aware of a problem to solve it.”

“The scientists collected and studied satellite data on the Amazon from 1991 to 2016. They found that about 75% of the rainforest has lost resilience. It is now taking longer to recover from natural and man-made events,” explained Felix, “If this cycle is repeated again and again, it could lead to ‘dieback’.”

Verum asked, “What is dieback?”

“Dieback is a condition in which trees start dying from the tips of their branches. It is usually caused by fungi and a few bacteria,” answered Felix, “If dieback occurs, trees might die in large numbers. This will be a tipping point. The rainforest will become a savannah. Savannah is a grassland-woodland ecosystem with widely spaced trees.

You know how the Amazon Rainforest is called the Earth’s lungs. That’s because billions of trees trap tons of carbon dioxide. This helps to slow down global warming. The trees also produce at least 20% of the Earth’s oxygen.

Savannahs cannot absorb as much carbon dioxide as rainforests. That’s why an event like this will have a massive impact on biodiversity, global carbon storage, and climate change.”

“Whoa,” said Scorch, “I now get why you are so upset.”