Study adds to fears Amazon is approaching tipping point after which it will not be able to generate its own rainfall. For the first time researchers have proven a clear correlation between deforestation and regional precipitation. Scientists hope it may encourage agricultural companies and governments in the Amazon and Congo basin regions and south-east Asia to invest more in protecting trees and other vegetation.
Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources helicopters taking part in an operation against Amazon deforestation. Photograph: Alan Chaves/AFP/Getty Images