More Than A Third Of Amazon Rainforest Struggling To Recover From Drought

"‘Critical slowing down’ of recovery raises concern over forest’s resilience to ecosystem collapse".

"More than a third of the Amazon rainforest is struggling to recover from drought, according to a new study that warns of a “critical slowing down” of this globally important ecosystem.

The signs of weakening resilience raise concerns that the world’s greatest tropical forest – and biggest terrestrial carbon sink – is degrading towards a point of no return.

It follows four supposedly “one-in-a-century” dry spells in less than 20 years, highlighting how a human-disrupted climate is putting unusually intense strains on trees and other plants, many of which are dying of dehydration.

In the past, the canopy of the South American tropical forest, which covers an area equivalent to about half of Europe, would shrink and expand in tandem with the annual dry and rainy seasons. It also had the capacity to bounce back from a single drought.

But in recent times, recoveries have become more sluggish because droughts are growing more intense in the south-east of the Amazon and more frequent in the north-west."

Jonathan Watts reports for the Guardian May 20, 2024.

Source: Guardian, 05/21/2024