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.
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Publications about the Amazon
Spatial variation of carbon and nutrients stocks in Amazonian Dark Earth
Geoderma 337 (2019). - ISSN 0016-7061 - p. 322 - 332.
The Socio-Economic Impact of Extreme Precipitation and Flooding on Forest Livelihoods : Evidence from the Bolivian Amazon
International Forestry Review 20 (2018)3. - ISSN 1465-5489 - p. 314 - 331.
Parallel diversifications of Cremastosperma and Mosannona (Annonaceae), tropical rainforest trees tracking Neogene upheaval of the South American continent
Response of the river discharge in the Tocantins River Basin, Brazil, to environmental changes and the associated effects on the energy potential
Regional Environmental Change (2018). - ISSN 1436-3798 - 12 p.
The legacy of 4,500 years of polyculture agroforestry in the eastern Amazon
Nature Plants 4 (2018)8. - ISSN 2055-026X - p. 540 - 547.
Seasonality of microbial organic matter decomposition affecting phosphorus availability in a Central Amazonian tropical lowland rainforest soil
Geophysical Research Abstracts 20 (2018). - ISSN 1029-7006 - 1 p.
Near-infrared spectrometry allows fast and extensive predictions of functional traits from dry leaves and branches
Ecological Applications 28 (2018)5. - ISSN 1051-0761 - p. 1157 - 1167.
Disturbance intensity is a stronger driver of biomass recovery than remaining tree-community attributes in a managed Amazonian forest
Journal of Applied Ecology 55 (2018)4. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 1647 - 1657.
Forest-rainfall cascades buffer against drought across the Amazon
Nature Climate Change 8 (2018)6. - ISSN 1758-678X - p. 539 - 543.
Can traits predict individual growth performance? A test in a hyperdiverse tropical forest
New Phytologist 219 (2018)1. - ISSN 0028-646X - p. 109 - 121.