Africa's Rainforests May Be More Resilient To Climate Change Than Amazon's

Dorothy Voorhees/CC BY-SA 2.0

An interesting notion coming via BBC News on resiliency of tropical rainforests to coming climate changes: Apparently Africa's rainforests might fare better in adapting than those in the Amazon. It all comes down to the fact that over the past four millennia there have been more changes in climate there which these forests have been through.

Yadvinder Malhi, a professor of ecosystems at Oxford University, summed up the thinking:

In some senses, African forests have gone though a number of catastrophes in the past 4,000 to 2,000 years. They are already much lower in diversity and have lost species that would have been potentially vulnerable, have broad ranges and have adapted to quite rapid changes in rainfall. So, overall, the remaining system, although it may be poorer to some extent, may be much more resilient to the pressures from climate change in this century.

Searching the TreeHugger archive for estimates of how rainforests around the world may fare under our climate change, I came up with this rather sobering stat: For rainforests in both South America and Africa, 70-80% of them will experience severe changes in biodiversity by 2100. For forests in Asia and on the Pacific Islands that figure drops to 60-77%. In terms of species, somewhere between 18-45% of animals and plants will remain in their current areas as they are today.

Tags: Africa | Amazonia | Biodiversity | Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects

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