Fires, drought… Forests are recovering faster and faster

Forests around the world are becoming less resilient—that is, less and less able to recover and return to a stable state after a disturbance such as drought or fire. It is a conclusion a study published July 13 in the scientific journal Nature.

To achieve this result, the team of scientists analyzed data collected by satellites between 2000 and 2020. They allowed them to study the evolution of the state of the world’s vegetation over a long period of time.

Their findings are not encouraging: forests in tropical, temperate and arid zones are losing resilience. Only a few boreal forests in the Northern Hemisphere have increased in resilience in recent decades. The results of this study show that forests intact » – that is, those not managed by humans – have been slightly more resilient on average than logged forests in the early 2000s, but this difference has leveled off over the years. Over time, forests intact » and logged forests lost resilience at a similar rate.

According to scientists, this loss of resilience is probably due to climate change. Its consequences can be dramatic. Recent studies show, for example, that three-quarters of the Amazon rainforest has lost its resilience over the past twenty years. This extremely rich ecosystem is less and less able to recover and return to its previous state after disturbance. Eventually, it risks turning into a savannah, releasing tens of billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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Darell Goodwin

"Beer fanatic. Tv evangelist. General music specialist. Coffee lover. Social media fan. Friendly travel practitioner."

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