In a recent research piece entitled “Observations of increased tropical rainfall preceded by air passage over forests“ published in the journal Nature, authors have found that under a business-as-usual tropical deforestation pattern, massive reductions in rainfall over South America would occur during this century.
Figure 1. Simulated percentage change in precipitation due to 2000–2050 business-as-usual deforestation of the Amazon basin. a, Wet season; b, dry season. Stippling denotes regions where the simulated precipitation anomaly differs from the present-day (1998–2010) rainfall by more than 1 s.d. The Amazon (black) and Rio de la Plata (red) basins are marked. Source: Spracklen and colleagues research article.
Spracklen and colleagues, from UK Universities, have empirically combined measures of air moisture, rainfall and vegetation density with current trends of Amazonian deforestation and report “reductions of 12 and 21 per cent in wet-season and dry-season precipitation respectively across the Amazon basin by 2050, due to less-efficient moisture recycling“.
Further, the study shows the largest relative reductions are likely to occur towards the Brazilian Amazon and its borders with the Cerrado, where current deforestation trends may be the largest across the whole forest. If deforestation trends keep on the same track of recent years, humanity will be faced with even more challenges than the Global Climate Models from the IPCC predict.
Just wondering, what would be the effect of this on water flow in the Amazon and other rivers, on the ecosystem services the basin provides, and on the people that make use of these ecosystem services?
We need better and stronger policies that allow us to stray from the business as usual pathway, and better forest monitoring and conservation. It is not only about few protected areas helping to conserve few landscape patches and the species present in them, and allowing tourism. Rather, we must realise the importance of keeping forests as entire units that have an strong role in controlling regional climate and from which ecosystem services humanity receives large benefits.
This post was first published on 6 September 2012 on the DAPA blog. Read the original post here. By Julian Ramirez-Villegas
Full article: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11390.html
The Terra-i team has worked hard on renovating Terra-i’s website since early this year. A set of new features on the website provides interactive contents and facilitates adaptation to the mobile devices of our users. The fresh website was developed using the latest update of an open-source, Java-based web system, Magnolia CMS 5.4.4. This update was customized to add different categories of interaction such as news, vegetation cover changes, and information, among others.
Globally more than 1 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. Forests play a crucial role in climate regulation, ecosystem services provision and regulation, water supply, carbon storage and many other functions that support biodiversity. Currently the global rate of deforestation is substantial, and there is a growing need for timely, spatially explicit data that flag natural vegetation changes due to human activities.
The latest update of Terra-i has been used with the Co$ting Nature ecosystem services assessment tool to understand the impacts of recent forest loss in Colombia on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
During the 1st and 12th of June 2015, the Terra-i team, together with the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP) and the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (VLIR-UNALM), conducted the second field validation of the data produced by the Terra-I system. This time, the study area was the Yurimaguas district, Alto Amazonas province, Loreto region (Peru). We used information on populated places, main roads, rivers and information on land cover changes detected for 2013, 2014 and 2015 to define the 65 sampling points (or Terra-I pixels) for the validation process (Figure 1).