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The rain forest dries out

In November of 2016 traveled Adriane Esquivel Muelbert in the most remote areas of the Amazon rain forest to measure trees. With your Team of chefs, climbers and biologists, the native Brazilian who marched, often for many kilometres through the forest, where all conditions such as in a steam bath of Sweat from his forehead trickling down. Often the members of the Expedition had to fight for hours to the destination, only to find that before them someone had been there, and trees had made.

So that you could repent again, and the rain-proof paper on their clipboards remained empty. Because the biologist from the School of Geography, University of Leeds, interested only for pieces of wood, which were untouched by humans. Finally, they wanted to investigate the influence of the climate change on the forest and had to exclude all other human impacts to be mutually exclusive. In the state of Mato Grosso, the centre of the deforestation of Brazil, it was therefore difficult to find areas of forest for their analysis.

Esquivel Muelbert runs a unique long-term study: have reviewed hundreds of biologists over the past 30 years, a total of 106 plots in the Amazon rain forest on a regular basis. They marked the trees that identified the genus and determined the trunk diameter. At the same time, they collected climate data. So they wanted to check, whether the forest changes due to climate change. Critics of the project had doubts that a change in leave after such a short period of time. But this is exactly the case. "The forest begins to change already," says Esquivel Muelbert. "He is gradually taking on a different character."

function as a green lung

The weather in the Amazon rainforest has become more extreme, and the dry phases, the periods of rain wet to be dry. In only a decade, the Amazon region has experienced three severe droughts: in 2005, 2010 and 2015/16. In the South of the forest system, the number of rainfall have fallen by a quarter. The complex System of forest, forest dwellers and the water cycle seems to be all out of whack. In addition, Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro enter the rain forest for beef farmers, free, and protected areas will dissolve. During the election campaign, the deforestation rates have increased by leaps and bounds, and satellite observation data showed – probably because of the expectation of a lumberjack, in the future, sanctions will no longer be feared.

How long can meet the Amazon rain forest, its function as a green lung, and the largest carbon dioxide storage in the earth, as a hostel of most of the species in the world, and as the Rain giver of half the South American continent? If Muelbert roams the Amazon rain forest, they experienced something New every Time. Time she hears a Jaguar, you see monkeys in the trees great or admire the various nuances of the greens. "The biodiversity of jumps a downright," she says.

But during their excursions, it was clear that something has changed: Even from the people untouched places were open Places in the forest, where in some cases, young, fast-growing trees such as Brazil nut or ants in trees. This is also the result of their study, recently published in the journal "Global Change Biology": The moisture-loving from trees die under the new extreme conditions while the drought-adapted trees can not fill the gap fast enough. "The reaction of the Ecosystem of the Rate of climate change is lagging behind," says Esquivel Muelbert.

"The rain forest is gradually taking on a different character."Adriane E., Muelbert, biologist

Also, the number of most types of palm trees has decreased considerably – with one exception: The Assaipalme has spread. There are so many losers and a few winners, overall, the Ecosystem is degraded, and the biodiversity decreases. A slow transition to a drier Amazon in the swing.

The Amazon rain forest with its Thousands of tree species is one of the most fascinating Ecosystems in the world. It only works because it supplies itself with rain. Air flows from the Atlantic ocean lead to moisture in the Amazon basin, and it is raining down. There is no forest, would drain away most of the water. The trees suck but with their roots, the water from the ground and release a part of it through their leaves back into the air. This happens billions of times as there is usual, forming a humid atmosphere layer flows in the air.

The water rises again and again in the air masses that migrate to the West to the edge of the Andes, where rain falls and, therefore, the majority of the rivers in the Amazon food. Even regions up to the North of Argentina is supplied to the circulation system with moisture. However, it is a fragile System. "From a certain degree of deforestation this cycle breaks down," says the American biologist Thomas Lovejoy. "And that would also make the agriculture outside the forest."

Deforested areas

at the beginning of last year, Lovejoy, is considered the father of the term "biodiversity" has been calculated, together with the Brazilian climate scientist Carlos Nobre, of the tipping point for the Amazon rainforest could be much closer than previously thought. Instead of 30 to 40 percent of deforestation probably about 20% would suffice to bring the System out of the Lot, wrote the researchers in an Editorial for the journal "Science", published in February 2018.

"slash-and-burn, deforestation and climate change could transform the forest into a savanna."Thomas Lovejoy, a biologist

today, the Brazilian rainforest has lost about a fifth of its forest area, and is biologist – at least from the point of view of the US – to the dangerous threshold is reached, the water cycle begins to fail. Other factors that set the Amazon rain forest is under pressure. "Slash and burn, deforestation, and climate change produce a negative synergy, and could transform the forest into a savanna," warns Lovejoy.

save the forest

the more the forest land, the worse they can withstand the climate change. They offer Wind and sun more attack surface and less resistance are, therefore, resistant to droughts. The water cycle comes to a Halt, the droughts, and the regime change to heat-tolerant, fast-growing tree species is accelerating. To counter this, proposes Lovejoy a "margin of safety": a reforestation of the Amazon rainforest, to remove themselves from the dangerous brink of the tipping point. "I hope the government understands very soon that you have to manage the Amazon basin as a total system," says Lovejoy.

Esquivel Muelbert relies on the pressure by the public and the scientists. "Many people in Brazil have understood the importance of the Amazon rain forest is," she says. "I hope that the Knowledge protects the forest."

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 13.01.2019, 17:43 PM

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