Does the Amazon rainforest really produce 20% of the world's oxygen?

No. In fact, under normal conditions (prior to human-caused fires) the Amazon forest is in a steady state. Oxygen is produced by photosynthesis and consumed by decay. If these were out of balance, then the mass of wood in the Amazon must change.

That means if the Amazon were to disappear today, instantly (e.g. we harvested all the wood and used it to build houses) then the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would continue on at the same level. Until, that is, the wood rots. Then the carbon dioxide levels would increase.

Except for the biomass decrease from human-caused fires, the biomass of the Amazon has not been changing. That means that no net carbon-dioxide is being removed from the atmosphere, so no net oxygen is being released from carbon dioxide.

Recently the Amazon biomass has been changing due to fires. When that happens, the wood and other carbohydrates in the trees combine with oxygen and produce CO2 and H2O. Thus the burning of the rainforests contributes to global warming.

But under normal situations, when the biomass of the Amazon is not changing, there is no net production of oxygen or carbon dioxide.

Incidentally, many writers who don’t understand this, and mistakenly think that the Amazon produces net oxygen, double their error by using a backwards metaphor. They refer to the Amazon basin the “lungs of the world.” But lungs are the organ that removes oxygen from the air and replaces it with carbon dioxide, not the other way around.

Where did the 20% figure come from? I’m guessing that ecologists have calculated that 20% of the photosynthesis of the world takes place in the Amazon basin. But so does 20% of the consumption.

This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Did you also think that the Amazon rainforest is the main source of oxygen for our planet?

#Science #Nature #Quora


Your opinion matters
Vijay Suri
Interesting info
Jan 8, 2020 8:20PM
Lee Miller
Good job. Love it! Talk about an "inconvenient truth". Bwahahahaha
Jan 2, 2020 8:27PM
Jim Blanton
Sounds like not much O2 is consumed viabreathing
Dec 30, 2019 6:16PM
John McLardie
Jacqueline Tattam, Richard Muller, Prof Physics, UC Berkeley wrote it. However what a physicist is doing commenting on what is, basically, a biological question is a mystery to me.
Dec 27, 2019 4:33AM
Todd Cates
Politician researchers?
Dec 26, 2019 4:36PM
William Spires
stellaclaude, likely those that also claim to be experts on Carbon emission caused Climate fluctuation and the proposal that inept, deceitful government agencies as the cure.
Dec 26, 2019 1:12AM
Jacqueline Tattam
Who wrote this? No citations, no data, no references - just another opinion piece posing as fact.
Dec 25, 2019 7:51PM
I just don’t get it! Why then, do they keep saying that?
Dec 25, 2019 7:20PM
Jim Adams
The main source of oxygen for the earth comes from our oceans nearly every bit of plant live , even on the microscopic level produces oxygen.
Dec 25, 2019 5:21PM
John Benger
So what is the main source of oxygen then
Dec 25, 2019 4:57PM
Maqsood Baluch
Dec 24, 2019 11:45AM
Kirk Tanaka
So what in the Sam Hill is going on?
Dec 24, 2019 1:23AM

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