Agricultural expansion and climate variability have become important agents of disturbance in the Amazon basin. Recent studies have demonstrated considerable resilience of Amazonian forests to moderate annual drought, but they also show that interactions between deforestation, fire and drought potentially lead to losses of carbon storage and changes in regional precipitation patterns and river discharge. Although the basin-wide impacts of land use and drought may not yet surpass the magnitude of natural variability of hydrologic and biogeochemical cycles, there are some signs of a transition to a disturbance-dominated regime. These signs include changing energy and water cycles in the southern and eastern portions of the Amazon basin.
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We thank the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT), the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) for designing, leading and managing the LBA project. We also thank D. Wickland (NASA) for more than a decade of leadership and support for the LBA-Eco project component of LBA. We thank the LBA-Eco team members who contributed to discussions on an early draft of this manuscript at a workshop in Foz do Iguaçu in August 2010, and S. Saleska for comments on the manuscript. We thank P. Lefebvre and W. Kingerlee for assistance with figure and manuscript preparation. Development of this manuscript was supported by NASA grants NNX08AF63A and NNX11AF20G.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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