- Recent research has shown that the western and southern Amazon would struggle to survive against increasingly longer dry spells brought on by climate change, which will reduce the areas’ capacity to store carbon.
- Researchers from Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia examined more than 540 trees representing 129 species at 11 locations in the western, central-eastern, and southern Amazon.
- The trees in the southern Amazon show the greatest degree of adaptation to dry spell, but they also face harsher circumstances than those in the north, leading to higher mortality rates.
As climate change keeps stifling rainfall, many areas of the Amazon have a higher risk of dying out from a drought than was previously thought.
Recent research has shown that the western and southern Amazon will struggle to survive against significantly extended dry spells induced by environmental change, which will reduce the areas’ capacity to save carbon. This is an essential function for keeping global temperatures below 1.5 ° C(2.7 ° F).
David Galbraith, a co-author and professor at the University of Leeds, said, “The Amazon is threatened by numerous stress factors, including logging and environment.” Knowing how much stress these forests can take is a big scientific challenge.
Previous studies may have overlooked the consequences of dry period on the Amazon since it focused on central-eastern places less vulnerable to drier settings, according to a study published in Nature last month.
Researchers from Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia examined more than 540 trees representing 129 species at 11 locations in the western, central-eastern, and southern Amazon. They are interested in learning more about the sorts of trees and forest conditions that could be able to withstand future dry spells and retain carbon. The hydration levels of trees were measured during periods of high and low water stress.
According to previous studies and Mongabay’s reporting, the Amazon is now seeing a drop in precipitation, causing the dry season to linger weeks longer than usual. According to the study, this is especially evident in the southern Amazon as a result of logging activities.
According to the study, trees in the southern Amazon show the greatest degree of adaptation to deal with dry period, but they will also face harsher circumstances than those in other regions, leading to higher mortality rates.
Trees in the Amazon’s wetter regions show less adaptation to dry spells, but they will also likely be protected from the harshest consequences of environmental change.
According to the study, the capacity of trees to store carbon falls dramatically when the risk of mortality from dry period increases. The southeastern region of the Amazon, where water scarcity is most severe, no longer acts as a major carbon sink in modern times.
As the dry period continues to spread, it may be the case throughout a larger portion of the Amazon.
Galbraith said that forests with a lower risk of dying from drought were able to accumulate more carbon than those with a higher risk.