A Brazilian rainforest is now being called an ‘extinction vortex’

A Brazilian rainforest is now being called an ‘extinction vortex’

 

 An example of recent Atlantic Forest fragmentation. (Photo: SPOT Satellite/Wiki Commons)

It’s sometimes a challenge for scientists to articulate just how extensively certain ecosystems in sensitive areas around the world are being threatened. There’s nothing ambiguous about the term “extinction vortex,” however.

That’s what one of the world’s most important forests — Brazil’s Atlantic Forest — is now being called. It’s difficult to fathom just how much this once-expansive rainforest has been transformed. Since colonization in the 16th century, the forest has been reduced from over 1.1 million square kilometers (420,000 square miles) to a measly 0.143 square kilometers (0.06 square miles). And there’s no doubt as to the cause of this destruction: human activities, mostly from farming and logging…