November 8 (UPI) – According to a new Amazon survey, the planet's largest forest changes due to climate change.
Unfortunately, research suggests that Amazon is not developing fast enough. Climate changes faster than Amazon can adapt.
Most notably, scientists have found that trees that love moisture dying faster than can be replaced by species that resist higher temperatures. In recent decades, droughts have damaged many parts of the Amazon.
"The response of the ecosystem lags behind the pace of climate change," Adriane Esquivel Muelbert, geographer at Leeds University, said in a report. "The data has shown us that the drought that has hit the Amazonian basin in recent decades has had serious consequences for forest-based make-ups with higher mortality rates on tree species most at risk of drought and lack of compensatory growth for species better equipped to survive drier conditions."
A survey that was published this week in Global Change Biology also showed that rising carbon dioxide benefits crowns in the upper layers of the forest.
In addition, some smaller tree species benefit from increased CO2 and the death of larger trees that love humidity.
Previous studies predict that rising CO2 levels will accelerate at least some of the forest dynamics, which will allow species to increase the rate of photosynthesis and conquer new territory.
"Increasing some groundbreaking trees, such as extraordinarily rapid growth Cecropia, is consistent with the observed changes in forest dynamics, which can ultimately be driven by increased levels of carbon dioxide, "said Oliver Phillips, professor of tropical ecology at Leeds.
While change can help Amazon adapt to changing conditions, rapid shifts can destabilize ecosystems.
"The impact of climate change on the forest community has important implications for the biodiversity of rain forests," said Kyle Dexter of the University of Edinburgh. "The species that are most at risk from drought are at risk of double risk, as they are typically those that are restricted to fewer places in the heart of the Amazon, which is likely to disappear if this process continues."