Climate change likely to wipe out 80 percent of rain forests

August 6th, 2010 - 5:45 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 6 (IANS) Climate change is likely to wipe out 80 percent of rain forests by 2100 and less than one in five of the plants and animals which inhabit these rain forests will exist by then, says a study.
Rain forests currently hold more than half of all the plant and animal species on Earth, says a Telegraph report from the US.

The Amazon Basin alone could see changes in biodiversity for 80 percent of the region.

However, scientists say the combined effects of climate change and deforestation may force them to adapt, move or die.

By 2100, this could alter two-thirds of the rain forests in Central and South America and about 70 percent in Africa, according to the journal Conservation Letters.

Greg Asner of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology in California, U.S., who led the research, said it was the first study to show the world’s natural ecosystems will undergo profound changes.

He explained: “This is the first global compilation of projected ecosystem impacts for humid tropical forests affected by these combined forces.”

Asner and his team looked at global deforestation and logging maps from satellite imagery and high-resolution data from 16 climate-change projections worldwide.

They then ran scenarios on how different types of species could be geographically reshuffled by 2100.

Daniel Nepstad, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Centre, U.S., said: “This study is the strongest evidence yet that the world’s natural ecosystems will undergo profound changes.

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