Nature and climate News | Scientific ecology

Rainforests can withstand heat, but only up to a certain point

Rainforests can withstand heat, but only up to a certain point

The rainforest has revealed a unique feature. They can withstand extreme heat. But only until a certain point. It is the tropics that are now constantly facing an uncertain future that awaits them in a constantly changing climate. Studies show that forests continue to store huge amounts of carbon, and this will continue in a warmer world when temperatures rise. But such opportunities for rainforests will remain only if countries limit the discharge of the greenhouse gas emissions.

The tropics store fossil fuel emissions for 25 years. There are fears that global warming may reduce that period, and then there will be a direct threat of the death of trees under the influence of rising climatic temperatures. An international research team was able to track the status of more than 500 thousand trees in 800 forest zones.


This helped them estimate the amount of carbon stored in the tropics. All forests grow in completely different climatic conditions. The scientists have found that the tropics continue to maintain high levels of carbon at fairly high air temperatures.

But at the same time, in the long run, such forests can withstand up to the expected temperature threshold, it will be 32 degrees. Such result is possible only in one case. When the forests have time to adapt to climate change, but at the same time they will remain untouched.

Martin Sullivan from the University of Leeds believes that the analysis made by the scientists made it clear: to a certain point of heating, rainforests are surprisingly resistant to small temperature differences. Despite the fact that climate is changing, they still continue to store huge amounts of carbon.


A threshold of 32 degrees underlines the critical importance of urgent action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. If the average temperature rises by two degrees, this will lead to the fact that almost three quarters of the rainforests will have an excess of the temperature background, which will lead to the rapid losses of forest carbon.