Friday, February 18, 2011

Tropical forests 're-shaped' by climate changes

Mark Kinver in the BBC: Changes in rainfall patterns can affect the characteristics of tropical forests, research shows Future climate change could change the profile of tropical forests, with possible consequences for carbon storage and biodiversity, a study says.

It suggests that if current trends continued, the drier conditions would favour deciduous, canopy species at the expense of other trees. US researchers based their findings on the changes they recorded in a Costa Rican forest over a 20-year period. The team's paper has been published in the journal Global Change Biology.

"It is important because - depending on the rate of change, and the type of species that are found in the forests - it will influence a lot of ecosystem services and processes," explained co-author Brian Enquist from the University of Arizona. "For example, we need to know how much carbon tropical forests are storing, and will store in the future. We also need to know how much CO2 they are taking out of the air."…

Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica. Palm forest, Manicaria and Raphia swamps. Shot by KTWL, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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