The rate of rainforest loss in northern Australia has doubled in the past 35 years, the researchers from James Cook University inform.
In a major international study conducted in the north of the Australian continent since 1985, scientists have found that tropical trees in the continent's forests are disappearing faster due to the negative effects of global climate change. According to Susan Lawrence, professor of tropical ecology at James Cook University, the number of trees dying annually in the forests of northern Australia has doubled over the past 35 years.
Scientists say that not only are the tropical trees in Australia's northern forests dying out due to global climate warming, the phenomenon is negatively affecting "all species diversity across the continent," but it is the rapid loss of forests that is particularly alarming because of their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and stabilize the temperature of the planet.
Oxford University professor Jadwinder Mali, who participated in the study, noted that there has been much talk in recent years about the impact of climate change on the corals of the Great Barrier Reef, but Australia's rainforests are changing just as dramatically.
The researchers noted that once dead, forest trees no longer absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and as their trunks decompose, they themselves start releasing CO2, becoming an additional source of greenhouse gases. The loss of biomass in Australia's rainforests over the past 35 years has not been offset by the planting of new trees, which has significantly reduced their ecological and climatic potential, scientists say.