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Amazon rainforest more able to withstand drought than previously thought
Date:11/14/2013

soil moisture. In many ecosystem models, plants reach this limit too soon, increasing the water stress that plants are predicted to feel during the dry season. In reality, moisture recycling can increase during the dry season resulting in increased atmospheric moisture, and even rain. This acts to reduce the water stress felt by the forest plants. The researchers took this dry season moisture recycling into account in their new model.

Climate change induced drought is likely to become a bigger problem in the coming years and forest conservation can help to mitigate the consequences. Large areas of undisturbed forest are more able to maintain moisture recycling during dry periods and are better able to recycle rainfall. Disturbed areas of forest, including those bordering pasture, are less able to maintain moisture recycling and as a result are less able to withstand drought.

Moisture recycling does not make the forest immune to drought but it can make the impacts of drought less severe. The optimum conditions for moisture recycling occur during the unstable climatic fluctuations at the end of the dry season.


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Contact: Jo Bowler
j.bowler@exeter.ac.uk
44-013-927-22062
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert  

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