For a warming of average annual temperatures by two degrees Celsius, 71% of species of living organisms inhabiting tropical forests of the planet, will be outside the temperature tolerance. According to the study, published in the journal Science, this will lead to the decline of biodiversity, reduction in biomass and a weakening of the role of tropical forests in carbon sequestration and regulating climate change.
Long-term response of tropical forests to climate change — a key uncertainty in existing climate models. Their critical role in the carbon cycle, and hence in the regulation of climate, no doubt, but to predict changes in biogeochemical fluxes of these ecosystems for many years to come is hard enough. Short-term monitoring of tropical forests has shown that increased temperatures and drought inhibits the growth of trees and increases their respiration, resulting in an overall reduction of productivity and capacity for sequestration of carbon.
More than 100 scientists from dozens of countries, led by Martin Sullivan (Martin J. P. Sullivan) from the University of Leeds have teamed up to make a long-term forecast of the response of tropical forests to climate change. To this end, they established a network of 590 sites in South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia (273, 239, 61, and 17 sites, respectively). At each site over several years was estimated above-ground biomass, the rate of fixation of carbon and the time of retention.