Forests are becoming less resilient

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41 million square kilometers: this is an area Earth which is still covered by forests. This represents about 30% of pop-up surfaces. But in recent decades, forests have suffered. subordinate storms More and more violent clients Pathogens Their number and ferocity is increasing, unusual forest firesoperations Elimination of Forests. Will they be able to resist, recover from all this upheaval, and rise again?

This is the question asked by A An international team of researchers. Because forests play a major role in regulating climate. So they absorb about a third of what we have emissions From carbon. They are also involved in regulating the flow of water and protecting and preserving the soil Biodiversity. evaluation of their own steadfastness So it looks especially important.

Studies have already shown that higher temperatures and lower humidity, all under the influence anthropogenic climate change, can make it difficult for some forests to survive. This time, the researchers went further. They wondered if these disturbances could reduce the forest’s ability to withstand more ad hoc attacks. Type of floodpests Drought or contamination. Natural as well as human attacks.

The researchers worked on an astronomical amount of satellite data. The data was collected over twenty years, between 2000 and 2020. It was the machine learning algorithm that helped them sift through this data.

Climate change puts forests to the test

The resilience of a forest, defined by researchers as its ability to recover after a disruptive event. How do you know if this is the case or not? According to them, when the forest turns into something else – like a savannah – when its state changes, this is evidence that the loss of elasticity has completed, and that the tipping point has been reached. Before that, the forest began to lose productivity.

A few years ago already, Colorado State University researchers (US) studied how climate change affects tree regeneration after a Fire from the forest. They have worked at 1,500 locations across five states in the United States. They noticed a significant decrease in tree renewal between the end of the 20th centurye century and the beginning of the twenty-first centurye century. In just over twenty years, forests seemed to be less fire-resistant. Recently, studies have revealed that tree mortality in Europe has been rising dramatically or that Amazon jungle It was close to the point of no return.

Cette fois, les résultats de l’analyse à l’échelle de la Planète montrent que plus de la moitié de toutes les forêts du monde — qu’elles soient gérées ou « intactes» — présentent des signes d’une diminution de leur steadfastness. These include tropical, arid and temperate forests. The reason is the increasingly frequent limited water supply and climate variability.

However, the Global Warming It appears to have a positive effect on the resilience of some trees. These are from boreal forestsin latitudes Northern regions, apparently benefit from a certain temperature rise “fertilization” from our side carbon dioxide emissions (Ko2).

Annoying work at a time when some depend on it carbon sink What forests are doing to help us fight global warming. But other studies should confirm this. Meanwhile, the researchers suggest that mitigating the impact of anthropogenic climate change on forest resilience will require enhancing the diversity of tree species in the future.

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