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Selection: with tag tropical-forests [9 articles] 


Effects of habitat disturbance on tropical forest biodiversity

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 114, No. 23. (06 June 2017), pp. 6056-6061,


[Significance] Biologists believe that a major mass extinction is happening in the tropics. Destruction of forests is a key reason. However, there are no solid predictions of the percentage of species that will go extinct as more and more forests are disturbed. This paper provides estimates based on extrapolating the respective numbers of species in disturbed and undisturbed habitats. It uses a large global database of species inventories at particular sites. Trees and 10 groups of animals are analyzed. All the disturbed ...


Wildfires in a warmer climate: emission fluxes, emission heights, and black carbon concentrations in 2090-2099

Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 121, No. 7. (16 April 2016), pp. 3195-3223,


Global warming is expected to considerably impact wildfire activity and aerosol emission release in the future. Due to their complexity, the future interactions between climate change, wildfire activity, emission release, and atmospheric aerosol processes are still uncertain. Here we use the process-based fire model SPITFIRE within the global vegetation model JSBACH to simulate wildfire activity for present-day climate conditions and future Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). The modeled fire emission fluxes and fire radiative power serve as input for the aerosol-climate model ...


Bistability, spatial interaction, and the distribution of tropical forests and savannas

Ecosystems (2016), pp. 1-12,


Recent work has indicated that tropical forest and savanna can be alternative stable states under a range of climatic conditions. However, dynamical systems theory suggests that in case of strong spatial interactions between patches of forest and savanna, a boundary between both states is only possible at conditions in which forest and savanna are equally stable, called the ‘Maxwell point.’ Frequency distributions of MODIS tree-cover data at 250 m resolution were used to estimate such Maxwell points with respect to the ...


Fire history and the global carbon budget: a 1°x 1° fire history reconstruction for the 20th century

Global Change Biology, Vol. 11, No. 3. (March 2005), pp. 398-420,


A yearly global fire history is a prerequisite for quantifying the contribution of previous fires to the past and present global carbon budget. Vegetation fires can have both direct (combustion) and long-term indirect effects on the carbon cycle. Every fire influences the ecosystem carbon budget for many years, as a consequence of internal reorganization, decomposition of dead biomass, and regrowth. We used a two-step process to estimate these effects. First we synthesized the available data available for the 1980s or 1990s ...


Habitat destruction: death by a thousand cuts

In Conservation Biology for All (01 January 2010), pp. 73-87,


[Excerpt] Humankind has dramatically transformed much of the Earth’s surface and its natural ecosystems. This process is not new—it has been ongoing for millennia—but it has accelerated sharply over the last two centuries, and especially in the last several decades. [\n] Today, the loss and degradation of natural habitats can be likened to a war of attrition. Many natural ecosystems are being progressively razed, bulldozed, and felled by axes or chainsaws, until only small scraps of their original extent survive. Forests have been hit especially hard: the global area of forests has been reduced ...


Drought sensitivity of the Amazon rainforest

Science, Vol. 323, No. 5919. (06 March 2009), pp. 1344-1347,


Amazon forests are a key but poorly understood component of the global carbon cycle. If, as anticipated, they dry this century, they might accelerate climate change through carbon losses and changed surface energy balances. We used records from multiple long-term monitoring plots across Amazonia to assess forest responses to the intense 2005 drought, a possible analog of future events. Affected forest lost biomass, reversing a large long-term carbon sink, with the greatest impacts observed where the dry season was unusually intense. ...


Biomass collapse in Amazonian forest fragments

Science, Vol. 278, No. 5340. (7 November 1997), pp. 1117-1118,


Rain forest fragments in central Amazonia were found to experience a dramatic loss of above-ground tree biomass that is not offset by recruitment of new trees. These losses were largest within 100 meters of fragment edges, where tree mortality is sharply increased by microclimatic changes and elevated wind turbulence. Permanent study plots within 100 meters of edges lost up to 36 percent of their biomass in the first 10 to 17 years after fragmentation. Lianas (climbing woody vines) increased near edges ...


Primary forests are irreplaceable for sustaining tropical biodiversity

Nature, Vol. 478, No. 7369. (14 September 2011), pp. 378-381,


Human-driven land-use changes increasingly threaten biodiversity, particularly in tropical forests where both species diversity and human pressures on natural environments are high. The rapid conversion of tropical forests for agriculture, timber production and other uses has generated vast, human-dominated landscapes with potentially dire consequences for tropical biodiversity. Today, few truly undisturbed tropical forests exist, whereas those degraded by repeated logging and fires, as well as secondary and plantation forests, are rapidly expanding. Here we provide a global assessment of the impact ...


How green are biofuels?

Science, Vol. 319, No. 5859. (04 January 2008), pp. 43-44,


Many biofuels are associated with lower greenhouse-gas emissions but have greater aggregate environmental costs than gasoline. [Excerpt] Global warming and escalating petroleum costs are creating an urgent need to find ecologically friendly fuels. Biofuels—such as ethanol from corn (maize) and sugarcane—have been increasingly heralded as a possible savior. But others have argued that biofuels will consume vast swaths of farmland and native habitats, drive up food prices, and result in little reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions . An innovative study by Zah et ...

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