A team of more than 100 scientists evaluated the impact of global warming in thousands of tree species throughout the Amazon to discover the winners and losers of 30 years of climate change. His analysis found that the effects of climate change are altering the tree tree composition of tree species but not fast enough to keep pace with the changing environment.
The team, led by the University of Leeds in collaboration with more than 30 institutions around the world, used long-term records of more than a hundred plots as part of the Amazon Forest Forest Ratio (RAINFOR) to track the lives of individual trees in everyone. Amazonian region. Their results have found that since the eighties, the effects of global environmental change (stronger droughts, rising temperatures and high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) have slowly affected the growth and mortality of specific tree species.
In particular, the study found that the tree species that most loved moisture are dying more frequently than other species and those that adapt to the driest climates were unable to replace them.
"The ecosystem response is delaying the rate of climate change. The data showed us that the droughts that reached the Amazon basin in recent decades have had serious consequences," Dr said. Adriane Esquivel Muelbert, from the School of Geography of Leeds. for the composition of the forest, with a higher mortality in the most vulnerable tree species and not enough compensatory growth in species better equipped to survive the drier conditions. "
The team also found that larger trees (predominantly canopy species in the higher levels of forests) are outside the competition of smaller plants. Team observations confirm the belief that canine species would be "winners" of climate change as they benefit from increased carbon dioxide, which allows them to grow faster. This also suggests that the largest concentrations of carbon dioxide also have a direct impact on the composition of the jungle and on forest dynamics – the way in which forests grow, die and change.
In addition, the study shows that pioneering tree-trees that quickly emerge and grow in the remaining ponds when trees die-benefit from the acceleration of forest dynamics.
Co-author of the study, Oliver Phillips, Professor of Tropical Ecology at Leeds and founder of the RAINFOR network, said: "The rise of some pioneering trees, such as the rapid growth of Cecropia, is consistent with the changes observed in forest dynamics, which can also Ultimately, be driven by an increase in the levels of carbon dioxide. "
"The impact of climate change on forest communities has important consequences for the biodiversity of tropical forests. The most vulnerable species to the droughts have a double risk, since they are usually the same. Restricted to fewer places in the heart of the Amazon, what makes them Most likely to be extinguished if this process continues.
"Our findings highlight the need for strict measures to protect the existing intact tropical forests. Deforestation for agriculture and livestock is known to intensify droughts in this region, which aggravates the effects already caused by global climate change."
The paper The compositional response of Amazon forests to climate change has been published in Biology of global change November 8, 2018.
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The compositional response of Amazon forests to climate change, Biology of global change, DOI: 10.1111 / gcb.14413