1 Tahrcountry Musings: Tropical Forests’ Carbon Sink Function Affected by Drought.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tropical Forests’ Carbon Sink Function Affected by Drought.

Tropical rainforests act as important carbon sinks.These forests have been continuously giving us a subsidy. Latest research indicates that with global warming this important function cannot be taken for granted any more.Drought is affecting the capacity of tropical forests to act as carbon sinks. This has far reaching effects for the global community. It is even feared that they could turn to be carbon ‘source’. The report appears in science today magazine

The assumption is based on a study of, 2005 drought, of Amazon basin. The drought has turned some of the affected areas of the Amazon from a carbon sink to carbon source. Research plots that were monitored regularly before and after the drought revealed that forest patches subjected to a 100-millimeter decrease in rainfall released on average 5.3 tonnes of carbon per hectare as trees in the area died.
Scientists have estimated that mature tropical forests, which cover about 10% of Earth's land, absorb around 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon per year. This is the equivalent of around 20% of carbon emissions from fossil-fuel burning. This works out to around 40% of the total global terrestrial carbon sink

The need to protect tropical rainforest has acquired great significance. A global initiative is what is needed. Countries acting alone and out of sync with others will not deliver the goods.

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