A significant portion of the world carbon emissions are taken up bye the rain forests of the tropics. This is something we rely on-without this we would need to become substantially carbon negative around the world to halt runaway global warming from the natural carbon emissions from various sources.
Before humans started emitting large amounts of carbon emissions, there was a balance between the carbon emissions emitted by plants and animals and from other sources, and the carbon taken up by trees growing as well as in other places.
the problem now is that it would appear we have increased the temperature to the extent that rain forest cannot maintain their own health. With the huge amount of carbon that rain forests have taken up over the last few centuries, if we kill off the trees and this carbon is released we will not be able to halt the extreme carbon emissions that will follow as this plant matter breaks down .
Rain forest are seriously complicated things, and for various reasons the animals that live within them are essential for their continued health.
For this reason there is a significant problem with the fruiting trees in the Congo basin. Research carried out in lope national park between 1986 and 2018 found that there was an 81% reduction in the amount of fruit being produced in the region.
This fruit is essential for the survival of the animals that live there, and without this the rain forest is likely to die. This is because the trees produce large fruit so that it can be carried long distance by the animals-making sure that it grows far from it’s parents so they do not encourage parasites that will kill them off.
The problem is that with heavy fruit,if you no longer have the large mammals to carry it it cannot get away from the floor around the tree it came from.
These sort of fruit creating trees rely on animals such as forest elephants chimpanzees and gorillas. Unfortunately all these populations are in free fall, and if there is a lack of fruit in the forest these populations will not recover and be able to fill the ecological niche that they are required to fill.
Provided that we slow and halt the the rain forest destruction in Africa, this is likely to improve over time. However if as is being seen in many places this destruction continues and accelerates then the rain forest may never recover and instead become a net carbon emitter.