Nature2014-06-18 4:56 PM

刚果雨林绿色程度的下降 Widespread decline of Congo rainforest greenness in the past decade

论文摘要 

刚果雨林在地球上是第二大,仅次于亚马逊,但关于它们对最近气候变化的反应我们却知之甚少。Liming Zhou等人利用遥感数据发现,过去十年的变干趋势与刚果森林绿色程度的大规模下降有关。然而,相对于在亚马逊曾出现过的突然干旱事件,这是一个渐进的过程。这一逐渐的“变棕”过程有可能正在造成群落组成朝向更耐旱的物种偏移。Abstract 


Tropical forests are global epicentres of biodiversity and important modulators of climate change1, and are mainly constrained by rainfall patterns. The severe short-term droughts that occurred recently in Amazonia have drawn attention to the vulnerability of tropical forests to climatic disturbances. The central African rainforests, the second-largest on Earth, have experienced a long-term drying trend whose impacts on vegetation dynamics remain mostly unknown because in situ observations are very limited. The Congolese forest, with its drier conditions and higher percentage of semi-evergreen trees, may be more tolerant to short-term rainfall reduction than are wetter tropical forests, but for a long-term drought there may be critical thresholds of water availability below which higher-biomass, closed-canopy forests transition to more open, lower-biomass forests. Here we present observational evidence for a widespread decline in forest greenness over the past decade based on analyses of satellite data (optical, thermal, microwave and gravity) from several independent sensors over the Congo basin. This decline in vegetation greenness, particularly in the northern Congolese forest, is generally consistent with decreases in rainfall, terrestrial water storage, water content in aboveground woody and leaf biomass, and the canopy backscatter anomaly caused by changes in structure and moisture in upper forest layers. It is also consistent with increases in photosynthetically active radiation and land surface temperature. These multiple lines of evidence indicate that this large-scale vegetation browning, or loss of photosynthetic capacity, may be partially attributable to the long-term drying trend. Our results suggest that a continued gradual decline of photosynthetic capacity and moisture content driven by the persistent drying trend could alter the composition and structure of the Congolese forest to favour the spread of drought-tolerant species.

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