Jun 26, 2017 | Updated: 10:45 PM EDT

Recent Study Finds The Effects Of Climate Changes To Tropical Forests Is Not As Critical As Previously Assumed

May 02, 2017 01:18 AM EDT

A view of Kerumutan river inside a tropical rainforest at Kerumutan protected tropical rainforest, on July 12, 2014 in Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia.
(Photo : Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) A view of Kerumutan river inside a tropical rainforest at Kerumutan protected tropical rainforest, on July 12, 2014 in Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia.

Tropical rainforests are useful to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen in an exchange. Climate changes are feared to affect its function greatly, but a recent study shows that the effects of climate change are not as dire as assumed.

Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder has shown the acceleration of forest growth following the increase of rainfall and rising of temperatures. The data collected from 150 forests shows that the assumption that forest growth will experience a dramatic slowdown with high levels of rainfall is not proven.

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"Our findings fundamentally change a view of the tropical forest carbon cycle that has been published in textbooks and incorporated into models of future climate change for years.” said a research associate of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Philip Taylor. “In some ways, this is a good-news story, because we can expect greater CO2 uptake in tropical regions where rainfall is expected to increase. But there are a lot of caveats.”

The study, which has been published in the Ecology Letters assumption is proven that more rainfall leads to the higher growth of the forests. Previously, scientists assumed that too much rainfall will dampen the ecosystem and slow down the growth rate of the forests. The study has proven the assumption is incorrect.

The previous assumption was made based on the cool forest, which made only 5 percent of the tropical forest biome. However, the majority of the warm tropical forest does not follow the assumption. In his study, Taylor found that in the warm and big tropical forests, higher rainfall stimulates the growth and does not waterlog the forest ecosystem.

Nevertheless, Taylor warned that deforestation of big tropical forests may negatively impact the function of tropical forest. He pointed out the drought in Amazon basin that led to many plants to die. 

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