The World As We Knew It Has Been Left Behind
  • Cloud forests, water source to millions, face risk . . .
  • Lesotho declares food emergency, appeals for international aid . . .


    Amazon forest a brake on global warming: study

    Global warming may be slowing as trees in the tropical forests of the Amazon are growing and dying much more quickly, new British research suggests.

    The growth rate of trees in the Amazon Basin has nearly doubled in recent decades, which may have helped slow the earth from heating up, according to the research published by The Royal Society.

    But the death rate of the trees has also accelerated, scientists warned.

    They said the death rate was slower than the growth rate, apparently causing an increased biomass - or mass of living vegetation.

    And the change in these areas - making up more than half of the Amazon rainforests - may have acted as a brake on global warming.

    The increased biomass helps clean carbon dioxide from the air and slow its buildup in the atmosphere.

    The most likely causes of the growth changes are identified as increases in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and surface air temperatures, and possible continent-wide changes in sunshine.