[Science news] - River valleys extremely important in tropical rainforest

Fri 23 Jun

The Amazon rainforest is home to an incredible variety of plant and animal species and plays a crucial role in regulating the Earth's climate. Climate change and human activities are putting this important ecosystem at risk. In particular, increasing drought is making it increasingly difficult for some plants and animals increasingly difficult to survive.


Researchers from Marburg University and Meise Botanic Garden analysed the climate and diversity of plant species in the Amazon region and showed that many species seek refuge in steep river valleys where daily mist is a source of moisture. Based on the richness of plant species, including orchids, ferns, mosses and lichens and the frequent occurrence of fog/clouds in these valleys, the researchers described 'hygric climate change refugia’. These lowland cloud forests function as refuges for the survival of tropical organisms in times of drought. This is what makes them so extremely important.


The researchers call for the protection of this type of cloud forest because it is precisely there that the unique biodiversity of tropical rainforests can be protected in the face of climate change.


The original article "Valleys are a potential refuge for the Amazon lowland forest in the face of increased risk of drought" appeared this month in Nature Communications Earth & Environment and can be accessed here.