When ecosystems reach a tipping point, they can deteriorate rapidly and suddenly.
The Amazon rainforest—the world’s largest rainforest, covering more than three million square miles—has been under threat from deforestation and exploitation for decades. But scientists now think that the damage done to the forest could be fundamental. A new study looks at how quickly the largest ecosystems in the world could be lost after they reach critical tipping points. The larger the ecosystem, they found, the faster it can change. And the Amazon could reach that tipping point and disappear within 50 years.