A thirsty future: will Amazon forests survive with more droughts and fire?
Paulo Brando, Department of Earth System Science
January 28, 2020 I UCI Student Center, Emerald Bay A-E
Breakfast 7:30 am I Lecture 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Every single day, the Amazon loses several hundreds of hectares of primary forests. By the minute, exotic African grasses and crops replace native vegetation—a result from ferocious competition for land. Farmers have found in the tropics a place to expand their practices, transforming the region between Amazonia and Cerrado (South America’s savannas) into the largest and most dynamic agricultural frontier in the planet. This massive land-use change has created novel disturbance regimes associated with more intense droughts and fires, because the deforestation is changing the local and regional hydrological cycles. Combined with global climate change that results from the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, fire and other disturbances will determine the future of Amazon forests– and whether they retain the capacity to sustain key ecosystem services or enter a downward spiral characterized by widespread degradation.
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