Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Environmental 'one-two punch' imperils Amazonian forests

Date:
June 4, 2014
Source:
James Cook University
Summary:
One of the world's longest-running ecological studies has revealed that Amazonian forests are being altered by multiple environmental threats -- creating even greater perils for the world's largest rainforest. But the biggest surprise is that nearby undisturbed forests, which were also being carefully studied, changed as well.

One of the world's longest-running ecological studies has revealed that Amazonian forests are being altered by multiple environmental threats -- creating even greater perils for the world's largest rainforest.

"It's like a boxer getting hit by a flurry of punches," says lead author William Laurance of James Cook University in Cairns, Australia.

For the past 35 years, a team of Brazilian and international researchers has studied how diverse communities of trees and vines respond when the Amazonian rainforest is fragmented by cattle ranching.

The fragmented forests, they found, change rapidly. "Lots of trees have died while vines, which favor disturbed forests, proliferate rapidly," said Jose Luis Camargo of Brazil's National Institute for Amazonian Research.

But the biggest surprise is that nearby undisturbed forests, which were also being carefully studied, changed as well. Trees there grew and died faster, and the vines also multiplied.

"These changes might be driven by increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," said Thomas Lovejoy of George Mason University in Virginia, USA, who initiated the long-term study. "Plants use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and when it increases, the forest evidently becomes more unstable and dynamic, as long as the soils have enough nutrients."

The investigators say a key implication is that many forests are being affected not only by land-use changes such as habitat fragmentation, but also by global-scale changes such as rising carbon dioxide and climate change. In some cases different drivers reinforce one another, increasing their impacts on forests.

"A big implication is that it's going to be harder to predict future changes to ecosystems if they're being affected by several environmental drivers," said Lovejoy.

The researchers expect such changes to increase in the future.

"Humans continue to dump billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year, and it's evidently affecting even the remotest forests on Earth," said Laurance.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by James Cook University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. William F. Laurance, Ana S. Andrade, Ainhoa Magrach, José Camargo, Mason Campbell, Philip M. Fearnside, Will Edwards, Jefferson J. Valsko, Thomas E. Lovejoy, Susan G. Laurance. APPARENT ENVIRONMENTAL SYNERGISM DRIVES THE DYNAMICS OF AMAZONIAN FOREST FRAGMENTS. Ecology, 2014; 140528195020002 DOI: 10.1890/14-0330.1

Cite This Page:

James Cook University. "Environmental 'one-two punch' imperils Amazonian forests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140604105549.htm>.
James Cook University. (2014, June 4). Environmental 'one-two punch' imperils Amazonian forests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140604105549.htm
James Cook University. "Environmental 'one-two punch' imperils Amazonian forests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140604105549.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) — Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) — Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

AFP (Aug. 25, 2014) — A factory in the industrial state of Sao Paulo produces genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue, a deadly tropical disease more prevalent in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Prime Minister at Japan Landslide Site

Raw: Prime Minister at Japan Landslide Site

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima on Monday as rescuers expanded their search for dozens still missing from landslides around the western Japanese city that killed at least 50 people. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins