Africa’s tropical tree species more resilient to future climate changes
Scientists at the Climate Change, Deforestation & The Future of African Rainforests International Conference claimed that the African rainforests may endure the effects of climate change better than their counterparts in other geographical locations, such as Brazil’s Amazons or the South-East Asian forests.
The event was held at Oxford University where scholars agreed on the regional resilience amongst African forest trees as species endured a series of “climatic catastrophes over the past 4,000 years”, the BBC reported.
Yadvinder Malhi, Professor of Ecosystems at the university told BBC News: “In some senses, African forests have gone through a number of catastrophes in the past 4,000 to 2,000 years.” Because of these past catastrophes, the current biodiversity is already much lower with the elimination of weaker species. As such, scientists believe that the remaining ecosystem has a make-up that is more resilient towards changing climate pressure.
Another reason as to why African forests have greater survival ratio could be attributed to their greater biomass, Dr. Simon Lewis from Leeds University told BBC News. He also adds: “This is partly because the trees are longer lived so they are becoming bigger over time, and partly because the whole forests are more productive.
“But we are not entirely sure why the African forests are more productive than those in the Amazon.”
Another element to bear in mind is although the African rainforests have a smaller tree species diversity than the Amazon forest, the mammal biodiversity is just as rich.
“There are many species of monkeys, and you then have things like pigmy hippos and forest giraffes.
“In terms of its animal diversity, it really is a remarkable place. And the majestic stature of the trees, it is again remarkable.” Dr. Lewis said.