Saturday , June 19 2021

Amazon forests failed to track climate change

Measuring amazonian tree in forest land, Peru (2009) Credit: Roel Brienen, University of Leeds

More than 100 scientists have estimated the impact of global warming on thousands of trees throughout the Amazon to reveal the winners and losers in 30 years of climate change. Their analysis has shown that the effects of climate change change the tree species, but not fast enough to keep up with the change in the environment.

The team, led by the University of Leeds in collaboration with more than 30 institutions around the world, used long-term records with more than a hundred parcels within the Amazon Forest Inventory network (RAINFOR) to track the lives of individual trees around the Amazon Amazon region. Their results have shown that, since the 1980s, the global environmental changes – stronger droughts, increased temperatures and higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – have been slowly influenced by the growth and mortality of certain types of trees.

Specifically, the study found that most tree species that like moisture die more often than other species, and those that are suitable for droughts can not replace.

Dr Adrian Esquivel Muelbert, of the Leeds Geographic Faculty, said: "The ecosystem response lags behind the climate change rate, and data have shown us that the droughts that hit the Amazonian basin in the last decades have had serious consequences for the composition of forests, with larger mortality in species of trees most vulnerable to droughts and insufficient compensatory growth in species that are better equipped to survive dry conditions. "

Dying Forest in Central Amazon, Brazil, 2016 Credit: Adriane Esquivel Muelbert, University of Leeds

The team also found that larger trees – predominantly crown species in the upper levels of forests – emerge from smaller plants. Team observations confirm the belief that the "canapés" types will be "winners" of climate change, as they benefit from increased carbon dioxide, enabling them to grow faster. This further suggests that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide also have a direct impact on the composition of forests and forest dynamics – the way in which forests grow, die and change.

In addition, research shows that pioneering trees – trees that quickly pass and grow in the gaps that remain behind when trees die – benefit from accelerating forest dynamics.

Research co-author Oliver Phillips, a professor of tropical ecology in Leeds and founder of the RAINFOR network, said: "Increasing some pioneer trees, such as the exceptionally fast growing Cecropia, is consistent with the observed changes in forest dynamics, which can also be ultimately triggered by increased levels of carbon dioxide. "

Measurement of large trees in central Amazon, Brazil, 2016. Credit: Adriane Esquivel Muelbert, University of Leeds

Dr. Kyle Dexter of the University of Edinburgh said: "The impact of climate change on forest communities has important implications for the rainforest biodiversity, and the most vulnerable species of drought are twice as dangerous, limited to smaller locations in the heart of the Amazon, which makes them more likely to will be extinct if this process continues.

"Our findings point to the need for more stringent measures to protect the existing intact rainforests, which are known to have deplorable agricultural and livestock drainage in the region, which exacerbates the consequences of global climate change."

Paper The Amazing Forest Response to Climate Change was published in Global Biological Change November 8, 2018

Explore further:
The drought stops tree growth and stops Amazon's coal sink, researchers say

More information:
The amalgamated forest response to climate change, Global Biological Change, DOI: 10.1111 / gcb.14413

Global Biological Change

Under condition:
University of Leeds

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