Severe storms that swept across Amazonia in January 2005 destroyed around half a billion trees, a loss estimated to equal 23% of the mean annual carbon accumulation in the Amazon's forests.
Storms often topple trees in the region, and now Robinson Negrón-Juárez at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and his co-workers have quantified the effect. Using field and satellite data, they found that the storms killed up to half a million trees in the Manaus region of northwest Brazil. They used these figures to model basin-wide destruction.
The team warns that climate change could increase storm intensity and so forest mortality, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere and further warming the planet.
About this article
Cite this article
Ecology: Tree death count. Nature 467, 8–9 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/467008f