TROPICAL RAINFORESTS: Disappearing Opportunities

Forest Fragmentation and Global Warming

According to scientists at Brazil's National Institute for Research in the Amazon, the conversion of rainforest into fragments contributes to global warming. Studies have shown that fragments experience a considerable die-off of trees attributed to drying winds and storms. As the vegetation dies, more carbon is added to the atmosphere. In addition, forest fragments are characterized by "weedier" fast-growing species which store less carbon per volume than longer-lived trees with high density wood. Therefore such fragmented and disturbed forest has a lesser carbon storage capacity than undisturbed primary rainforest. Fragmentation is a problem worldwide as more than two-thirds of the world's remaining forests are fragmented.

Continued: Extinction

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