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
Data from: A 7000-year history of changing plant trait composition in an Amazonian landscape; the role of humans and climate
Trait divergence and habitat specialization in tropical floodplain forests trees
PLoS ONE 14 (2019)2. - ISSN 1932-6203
Perceptions of integrated crop-livestock systems for sustainable intensification in the Brazilian Amazon
Land Use Policy 82 (2019). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 841 - 853.
Compositional response of Amazon forests to climate change
Global Change Biology 25 (2019)1. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 39 - 56.
Integrated culture of Nile tilapia and Amazon river prawn in stagnant ponds, using nutrient-rich water and substrates
Aquaculture 503 (2019). - ISSN 0044-8486 - p. 111 - 117.
Rainfall monitoring network design using conditioned Latin hypercube sampling and satellite precipitation estimates: An application in the ungauged Ecuadorian Amazon
International Journal of Climatology 39 (2019)4. - ISSN 0899-8418 - p. 2209 - 2223.
Embolism resistance drives the distribution of Amazonian rainforest tree species along hydro-topographic gradients
New Phytologist 221 (2019)3. - ISSN 0028-646X - p. 1457 - 1465.
Spatial variation of carbon and nutrients stocks in Amazonian Dark Earth
Geoderma 337 (2019). - ISSN 0016-7061 - p. 322 - 332.
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 19 (2019)1. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 193 - 204.
Data from: Disturbance intensity is a stronger driver of biomass recovery than remaining tree-community attributes in a managed Amazonian forest