The team, led by University of Leeds in collaboration with more than 30 institutions around the world, used long-term records from more than a hundred plots as part of the Amazon Forest Inventory Network (RAINFOR) to track the lives of individual trees across the Amazon region. Their results found that since the 1980s, the effects of global environmental change -- stronger droughts, increased temperatures and higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere -- has slowly impacted specific tree species' growth and mortality.
In particular, the study found the most moisture-loving tree species are dying more frequently than other species and those suited to drier climates were unable to replace them.
Author - Dr - Adriane - Esquivel - Muelbert
Lead author Dr Adriane Esquivel Muelbert, from the School of Geography at Leeds, said: "The ecosystem's response is lagging behind the rate of climate change. The data showed us that the droughts that hit the Amazon basin in the last decades had serious consequences for the make-up of the forest, with higher mortality in tree species most vulnerable to droughts and not enough compensatory growth in species better equipped to survive drier conditions."
The team also found that bigger trees -- predominantly canopy species in the upper levels of the forests -- are outcompeting smaller plants. The team's observations confirms the belief that canopy species would be climate change "winners" as they...
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