A larger part of the Amazon rainforest is at risk of crossing a tipping point where it could become a savanna-type ecosystem than previously thought, according to new research. The research, based on computer models and data analysis, is published in the journal Nature Communications.
Rainforests are very sensitive to changes that affect rainfall for extended periods. If rainfall drops below a certain threshold, areas may shift into a savanna state.
“In around 40 percent of the Amazon, the rainfall is now at a level where the forest could exist in either state — rainforest or savanna, according to our findings,” says lead author Arie Staal, formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht University.
The conclusions are concerning because parts of the Amazon region are currently receiving less rain than previously and this trend is expected to worsen as the region
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