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Drought Sensitivity of the Amazon Rainforest

Phillips, OL, Aragao, LEOC, Lewis, SL, Fisher, JB, Lloyd, J, Lopez-Gonzalez, G, Malhi, Y, Monteagudo, A, Peacock, J, Quesada, CA, van der Heijden, G, Almeida, S, Amaral, I, Arroyo, L, Aymard, G, Baker, TR, Bánki, O, Blanc, L, Bonal, D, Brando, P, Chave, J, de Oliveira, AC, Cardozo, ND, Czimczik, CI, Feldpausch, TR, Freitas, MA, Gloor, E, Higuchi, N, Jiménez, E, Lloyd, G, Meir, P, Mendoza, C, Morel, A, Neill, DA, Nepstad, D, Patiño, S, Peñuela, MC, Prieto, A, Ramírez, F, Schwarz, M, Silva, J, Silveira, M, Thomas, AS, Steege, HT, Stropp, J, Vásquez, R, Zelazowski, P, Alvarez Dávila, E, Andelman, S, Andrade, A, Chao, KJ, Erwin, T, Di Fiore, A, Honorio, CE, Keeling, H, Killeen, TJ, Laurance, WF, Peña Cruz, A, Pitman, NC, Núñez Vargas, P, Ramírez-Angulo, H, Salamão, R, Silva, N, Terborgh, J and Torres-Lezama, A (2009) Drought Sensitivity of the Amazon Rainforest. Science, 323 (5919). 1344 - 1347 . ISSN 0036-8075


Amazon forests are a key but poorly understood component of the global carbon cycle. If, as anticipated, they dry this century, they might accelerate climate change through carbon losses and changed surface energy balances. We used records from multiple long-term monitoring plots across Amazonia to assess forest responses to the intense 2005 drought, a possible analog of future events. Affected forest lost biomass, reversing a large long-term carbon sink, with the greatest impacts observed where the dry season was unusually intense. Relative to pre-2005 conditions, forest subjected to a 100-millimeter increase in water deficit lost 5.3 megagrams of aboveground biomass of carbon per hectare. The drought had a total biomass carbon impact of 1.2 to 1.6 petagrams (1.2 × 1015 to 1.6 × 1015 grams). Amazon forests therefore appear vulnerable to increasing moisture stress, with the potential for large carbon losses to exert feedback on climate change.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: long-term plots, tropical forests, climate-change, dry season, carbon, mortality, impact, tree, dynamics, exchange
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2012 12:14
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 03:47
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1164033
Status: Published
Publisher: American association for the advancement of science
Identification Number: 10.1126/science.1164033
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43563

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