Tropical Forests Unexpectedly Resilient to Climate Change
Tropical forests are unlikely to die off as a result of the predicted rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases this century, a new study finds. The analysis refutes previous work that predicted the catastrophic loss of the Amazon rainforest as one of the more startling potential outcomes of climate change.
In the most extensive study of its kind, an international team of scientists simulated the effect of business-as-usual emissions on the amounts of carbon locked up in tropical forests across Amazonia, Central America, Asia and Africa through to 2100. They compared the results from 22 different global climate models teamed with various models of land-surface processes. In all but one simulation, rainforests across the three regions retained their carbon stocks even as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increased throughout the century.
The fertilizing effect of carbon dioxide, which boosts plant growth, counteracts the release completely if it is as large as expected due to climate change.
That tropical forests will retain their carbon stocks long term gives a major boost to policies aimed at keeping forests intact, such as the United Nations’ REDD programme on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
But there may be more immediate threats to forests in the next 20 to 30 years from extreme weather events. And those events will only become more common in a warming world.
2,800 Dead Pigs in Shanghai River, China
A surge in the dumping of dead pigs upstream from Shanghai — with more than 2,800 carcasses floating into the financial hub through Monday — has followed a police campaign to curb the illicit trade in sick pig parts.
The effort to keep infected pork off dinner tables may be fuelling new health fears, as Shanghai residents and local media fret over the possibility of contamination of the city’s water supply, though authorities say no contamination has been detected.
Authorities have been pulling out the swollen and rotting pigs, some with their internal organs visible, since Friday.