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
Response to Comment on "persistent effects of pre-Columbian plant domestication on Amazonian forest composition"
Science 358 (2017)6361. - ISSN 0036-8075 - 2 p.
The role of fertile anthropogenic soils in the conservation of native and exotic agrobiodiversity in Amazonian homegardens
Agroforestry Systems (2017). - ISSN 0167-4366 - 12 p.
Socio-ecological analysis of multiple-use forest management in the Bolivian Amazon
University. Promotor(en): Frits Mohren, co-promotor(en): Marielos Pena Claros; N. Ascarrunz. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463436557 - p.
A spatiotemporal geostatistical hurdle model approach for short-term deforestation prediction
Spatial Statistics 21 (2017)part A. - ISSN 2211-6753 - p. 304 - 318.
Xylopia annoniflora (Annonaceae): a new species from central Amazonia
Phytotaxa 317 (2017)2. - ISSN 1179-3155 - p. 130 - 136.
Reviews and syntheses: An empirical spatiotemporal description of the global surfaceatmosphere carbon fluxes: opportunities and data limitations
Biogeosciences 14 (2017)15. - ISSN 1726-4170 - p. 3685 - 3703.
Spatial and temporal dynamics of shifting cultivation in the middle-Amazonas river
PLoS One 12 (2017)7. - ISSN 1932-6203
Economically important species dominate aboveground carbon storage in forests of southwestern Amazonia
Ecology and Society 22 (2017)2. - ISSN 1708-3087 - 21 p.
Challenging Current Knowledge on Amazonian Dark Earths
Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment (2017). - ISSN 2153-9553
Extractivism and the rights of nature
Environmental Politics 26 (2017)6. - ISSN 0964-4016 - p. 1015 - 1034.