Evidence Grows of Rain Forest Resilience to Global Warming

Image: Evidence Grows of Rain Forest Resilience to Global Warming (Photo © Dirk Ercken | Dreamstime.com)

Sunday, 10 Mar 2013 04:02 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The world's tropical forests are less likely to lose biomass, or plant material, this century due to the effects of global warming than previously thought, scientists said in a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Sunday.

This adds to growing evidence that rain forests might be more resilient to the effects of climate change than feared.

Tropical forests play an important role in the world's climate system because they soak up carbon dioxide and use it to grow leaves, branches and roots.

It is estimated they store around 470 billion tonnes (a unit of mass equal to 1,000 kilograms) of carbon in their biomass and soil, some of which can be released back into the atmosphere when plants rot or get burnt.

Rising global temperatures cause droughts and fires, which can kill trees, but estimates vary on how much forest cover would be lost in a warming world.

In 2009, a group of British scientists said that 20 to 40 percent of the Amazon could die off within 100 years if global temperatures rose by 2 degrees Celsius, and 85 percent would be lost if temperatures rose by 4 degrees, which is seen as increasingly likely.

But a study last month said the Amazon rain forest was less vulnerable to dying off because carbon dioxide also acts as an airborne fertilizer.

In this study, scientists and tropical ecologists from Britain, the United States, Australia and Brazil used computer simulations based on 22 climate models to study the response of tropical forests in the Americas, Africa and Asia to rising global temperatures.

The research team found forest cover loss in only one model, in the Americas (Amazonia and Central America).

"We conclude that ... there is evidence of forest resilience for the Americas, Africa and Asia," said lead author Chris Huntingford, from Britain's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

However, there are still uncertainties in gauging how ecosystems respond to global warming, the study said.

"While these new results suggest that tropical forests may be quite resilient to warming, it is important also to remember that other factors not included in this study, such as fire and deforestation, will also affect the carbon stored in tropical forests," said co-author David Galbraith from the University of Leeds.

The impacts of these factors are difficult to gauge so further study is needed, he added.

Deforestation derives from human activity and can aggravate the effects of climate change by releasing more carbon into the atmosphere.

Brazil has sharply reduced forest losses in recent years. But predictions of a die-back in coming decades had led some people to conclude that there was no point safeguarding trees.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Pope Seeks to Bring Faith to 'Ends of the Earth'

Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 18:26 PM

Pope Francis baptized 10 people Saturday and urged them to bring their faith to the ends of the Earth as he presided o . . .

Conservatives Deride Effort to Rig Electoral College

Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 19:37 PM

Conservatives slammed the campaign to effectively end the Electoral College's role in presidential elections, saying tha . . .

Fox Executive Fired Over Flight 370 Charity Email

Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 18:22 PM

A veteran Fox executive who used her company email account to plan aid for loved ones of the missing Malaysian airplane' . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved