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Ecology: Tree death count


Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1029/2010GL043733 (2010)

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.

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Ecology: Tree death count. Nature 467, 8–9 (2010).

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