The weather in the Amazon is more often dry nowadays and when it is, the world's biggest rainforest produces vast quantities of CO2. This may be the forest's death warrant, with serious consequences for the climate. Wageningen researchers see both signs of stress and a suprising degree of resilience.
A lot of water combined with heat and sunlight provide ideal conditions for luxuriant plant growth. This becomes apparent when rain suddenly becomes scarce, as it did in 2005, 2010 and 2015. The vegetation grew at a slower pace and there were more forest fires.
The forest remains a tropical rainforest
Drought causes problems for trees and other plants which are used to a humid environment. The crowns of trees thin out and some trees die off completely. The response of forests to more frequent droughts is surprising: the forest may change in the composition of species present but it remains tropical rainforest, with more or less the same amount of biomass and of sequestrated CO2.
Research chair group Meteorology and Air Quality
Ingrid van der Laan-Luijkx, a postdoc at the Meteorology and Air Quality chair group, can see such effects from Wageningen by studying the air quality above the Amazon. Van der Laan's lab is working with Brazilian researchers who take regular air samples from a small plane at different altitudes above the Amazon.
Publications about the Amazon
Molecular composition of several soil organic matter fractions from anthropogenic black soils (Terra Preta de Índio) in Amazonia A pyrolysis-GC/MS study
Geoderma 288 (2017). - ISSN 0016-7061 - p. 154 - 165.
Fishing in the Amazonian Forest: A Gendered Social Network Puzzle
Society & Natural Resources 30 (2017)6. - ISSN 0894-1920 - p. 690 - 706.
Floodplains as an Achilles' heel of Amazonian forest resilience
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 (2017)17. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. 4442 - 4446.
Natural regeneration of tree species in the Eastern Amazon
Diversity and carbon storage across the tropical forest biome
Scientific Reports 7 (2017). - ISSN 2045-2322
Self-amplified Amazon forest loss due to vegetation-atmosphere feedbacks
Nature Communications 8 (2017). - ISSN 2041-1723
Análise de controles biológicos e meteorológicos da evapotranspiração em áreas de florestas primárias e pastagem na Amazônia
Revista Ambiente e Agua 12 (2017)2. - ISSN 1980-993X - p. 179 - 191.
Impacts of future deforestation and climate change on the hydrology of the Amazon Basin
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 21 (2017)3. - ISSN 1027-5606 - p. 1455 - 1475.
Socio-ecological costs of Amazon nut and timber production at community household forests in the Bolivian Amazon
PLoS One 12 (2017)2. - ISSN 1932-6203
Persistent effects of pre-Columbian plant domestication on Amazonian forest composition
Science 355 (2017)6328. - ISSN 0036-8075 - p. 925 - 931.