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Amazon Trees Less Vulnerable to Changing Climate: Study

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According to a new study, many Amazon tree species may be more likely to survive global warming than previously thought.

Genetically this may be so, however the authors of the study still caution that drought and forest fires as a result of a hotter climate would still negatively impact the trees.

Associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, tree expert, and acting director of the U-M Herbarium, Christopher Dick, said, “Our paper provides evidence that common Amazon tree species endured climates warmer than the present, implying that — in the absence of other major environmental changes — they could tolerate near-term future warming under climate change.”

Still, the past isn’t the same as the future, the study’s co-author Simon Lewis of the University College London and the University of Leeds cautioned.

“While tree species seem likely to tolerate higher air temperatures than today, the Amazon forest is being converted for agriculture and mining, and what remains is being degraded by logging and increasingly fragmented by fields and roads,” he said.

“Species will not move as freely in today’s Amazon as they did in previous warm periods, when there was no human influence.”


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