Amazon rainforest could be drying out
December 26, 2012 | 4 comments
Image Credit: Fernando S. Aldado
New fears have been raised over the rainforest's capacity to adapt to upcoming changes in the climate.
So-called "once-in-a-century droughts" have started to become more frequent and this is only likely to get worse as conditions become warmer and drier. While the rainforest is able to adapt to climate change to an extent, the question is now whether it will be able to adapt enough to cope with what is likely to come over the next few decades. Couple this with human deforestation and there could be bad news in store.
"Individuals can acclimate, species can adapt or migrate, or they go extinct," said biologist Kenneth Feeley. "Species are moving upslope about three vertical meters a year - that’s really fast. Based on the climate change that’s already happening, they need to move nine or 10 vertical meters a years."
Although it has seen warmer temperatures in the past, the western Amazon is under siege now from a combination of a warming climate and human population growth that it has never faced before.
Source: Scientific American
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