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A combination of climate change, extreme weather and pressure from local human activity is causing a collapse in global biodiversity and ecosystems across the tropics, new research shows.
The study, published today, mapped over 100 locations where tropical forests and coral reefs have been affected by climate extremes such as hurricanes, floods, heatwaves, droughts and fires. It provides an overview of how these very diverse ecosystems are being threatened by a combination of ongoing climate changes, increasingly extreme weather and damaging local human activities.
Team - Researchers - Action - CO2 - Emissions
The international team of researchers argue that only international action to decrease CO2 emissions can reverse this trend.
Lead researcher Dr. Filipe França from the Embrapa Amazônia Oriental in Brazil and Lancaster University said: "Tropical forests and coral reefs are very important for global biodiversity, so it is extremely worrying that they are increasingly affected by both climate disturbances and human activities".
Threats - Forests - Reefs - Deforestation - Pollution
"Many local threats to tropical forests and coral reefs, such as deforestation, overfishing, and pollution, reduce the diversity and functioning of these ecosystems. This in turn can make them less able to withstand or recover from extreme weather. Our research highlights the extent of the damage which is being done to ecosystems and wildlife in the tropics by these interacting threats."
Dr. Cassandra E. Benkwitt, a marine ecologist from Lancaster University, said: "Climate change is causing more intense and frequent storms and marine heatwaves. For coral reefs, such extreme events reduce live coral cover and cause long-lasting changes to both coral and fish communities, compounding local threats from poor water quality and overfishing. Although the long-term trajectory for reefs will depend on how extreme events interact with these local stressors, even relatively pristine reefs are vulnerable to both climate change and extreme weather."
Forest - Species - Frequency - Hurricanes
Tropical forest species are also being threatened by the increasing frequency of extreme hurricanes.
Dr. Guadalupe Peralta from...
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