Rainforests Adapting to Global Warming

Man is doing his best to destroy the Earth’s resources, but nature has a way of adapting and resisting. James Fleure reports for Science Recorder:

A team of researchers, led by Dr. Chris Huntingford from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, has discovered more evidence of rainforest resilience to global warming. Their findings reveal that tropical forests are less likely to lose biomass due to global warming than climatologists previously thought. According to the BIOMASS Energy Centre, biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms.

Researchers undertook the most comprehensive study yet of the risk of tropical forest dieback due to global warming. They contend that their results have significant implications for the role of tropical rainforests in the global climate system and carbon cycle.

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Researchers utilized computer simulations with 22 climate models to examine the response of the tropical forests in the Americas, Africa and Asia to greenhouse-gas-induced climate change.

They discovered loss of forest cover in only one model, and only in the Americas. They also discovered that the biggest source of uncertainty in the projections to be variations in how plant physiological processes are represented.

Although the study reveals more evidence of rainforest resilience to global warming, the study also shows where significant uncertainties lie in pinpointing how ecosystems act in response to global warming.

“Uncertainties are associated with different carbon stock responses in models with different representations of vegetation processes on the one hand, and differences in projected changes in temperature and precipitation patterns on the other hand,” wrote the authors in the study’s abstract…

[continues at Science Recorder]

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36 Responses to Rainforests Adapting to Global Warming

  1. Ted Heistman March 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    I suspected this.

  2. LucidDreamR March 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    “Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two species
    of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they
    ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their
    limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing they were making champagne.”

    -K. Vonnegut: ‘Breakfast of Champions’

  3. Alekk March 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Can they adapt to chainsaws?

    • LucidDreamR March 12, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

      Considering the extensive root systems of some trees, they just may. In a broader sense though: they adapted to at least one major, earth-changing event- one that blows chainsaws and frankly anything else we could possibly think to throw at them, even nukes, out of the water. I’m quite sure Mother Nature, if even aware of our measly existence, only laughs at our chainsaws.

      • Alekk March 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

        True. Yet if I remember correctly, we’re cutting down about 6 billion trees per day. And for every ten trees you should plant one. I doubt that’s happening very often. That’s a lot of trees. So global warming or not, human behavior is still fucking up the game for everyone. Start planting trees, I guess.

      • Alekk March 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

        True. Yet if I remember correctly, we’re cutting down about 6 billion trees per day. And for every ten trees you should plant one. I doubt that’s happening very often. That’s a lot of trees. So global warming or not, human behavior is still fucking up the game for everyone. Start planting trees, I guess.

        • Andrew March 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

          Life will adapt to our wreckage. The point is that we’re killing ourselves.

          • Alekk March 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

            Yes, exactly. And I for one kinda like living. But let me give you this thought; If we are creating the scene for human extinction, what other life forms are heading for the sunset with us? Granted, species die off all the time…

        • LucidDreamR March 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

          The implication of this line of thought is that we are separate from Nature and her cycles. How do we know Nature didn’t design us to cut down the trees? When Nature causes a giant forest fire, flood, volcano etc.; which destroys life (trees) is it considered bad? There are numerous examples in Nature of ‘destructive species’, but they are just another part of Her cycles. Why are we different? I refer you to the quote from Kurt Vonnegut I posted in this thread earlier. …and to the same discussion had a few articles back…

          • Alekk March 12, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

            Alright…I need oxygen to breath. I need clean food to eat and clean water to drink. Those are facts for my survival, that I can’t debate with. We are certainly able to do many many things as human beings.. That doesn’t mean that all those things are a good idea. Saying that nature created us to do this and that sound like a cop-out to me. As if we are infallible, capable of making no bad decisions. (Now, I don’t know why we are here, or if there is any particular reason, that’s a different discussion…) I live in an area where they are building a new uranium mine.The sulfur and toxins leaking from the site is killing the fish in the nearby lake. I suppose I should just say “fuck it, that’s why nature gave us brains”? There are forest fires etc. But to say it’s equivalent to systematically overlooking the limits of our resources on this planet and the rate we are doing this, is kind of flawed in terms of biology. I don’t consider anything bad, or good, or evil..I’ve let that nonsense go along time ago. I just want to live, my friend.

          • Andrew March 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

            Perhaps what you think is your desire to live is a misunderstanding of your natural desire to destroy.

          • LucidDreamR March 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

            I should have chosen different words, as to speculate on the consciousness of our planet is a whole new bag of worms from the topic we are on. I should have been more specific. From what we understand of evolution we adapt by random mutations that sometimes prove beneficial for our species, and the planet as a whole; and sometimes prove fatal. Now I’m with you; I try to live as ecologically friendly as possible, but when looking at our history and species as a whole, the fact is clear this is not the case with most. I’m also afraid that unless you do such things as grow all of your own food and make all of your own fuel and electricity etc. etc. then you too are a part of this “destructive” nature. You say to draw the comparisons I did was flawed; is it? I again refer to the quote I posted about yeast. Take yourself (humans) out of the center of the equation. Mother Earth does not have the same sympathy for your life. How do we know that whatever changes we humans may be making to the environment aren’t exactly what is called for? How do we know we aren’t hard-wired to self destruct as it were? If you look at the survival rate of the beings of our planet- the smarter they get, the shorter the life span of the species. The very notion of us choosing to adapt really goes against everything we know about evolution… so I’d say our best hope is that we mutate out of it, adapt with it, or go along with the self destruction. Call it a cop out if you will; I call it being realistic. And frankly I still find the whole notion of us little humans even having the ability to affect any sort of real ‘change’ on our environment, evolution or the planet as a whole completely laughable personally. …I don’t even think we could kill ourselves off if we tried, much less disturb the rest of the planet- not in the grand scheme of things at least….

          • Alekk March 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

            I’m very well aware of my own part in the self destructive pattern of human beings,I’m not pretending anything else. What I got from your previous reply was this idea that ‘we are here fulfilling our cosmic nature by building shit and destroying our own environment, so everything goes..’ Maybe I misread that, I sometimes do. Now as for your point, I understand what you’re saying about “hard-wired to self destruct”, I know Vonnegut, but I still don’t wanna get cancer from my drinking water.. See what I’m saying? I see this as more of a cultural phenomenon. Many aboriginal cultures understand the balance that human life requires on this planet. Either way behavior can be changed to certain degree. But to be honest, and here is where I probably differ from most readers here, I don’t really give a fuck what happens to people. And if we are dumb enough to continue on the path of living beyond our means, then obviously we deserve whatever we get. I just see it as stupidity that could be avoided, that’s all. But that’s obvious. I just find it funny when people debate about global warming like it’s the only reason not to pollute. But like I said, I’m a pretty mean guy, don’t care for people all that much and I always tell myself not to get sucked into this madness here or anywhere else online. Since it solves absolutely nothing in my world. And I do get sick of even my own opinions here. But I’ll of course answer any counterpoints you may have. And I definitely see what you mean, you seem like a pretty smart, well-read person and I wish you all the best. Peace.

          • LucidDreamR March 12, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

            The same to you good sir. I agree it’s seems very ignorant. Your excellent point of it being a cultural phenomenon makes me wonder: perhaps the hordes of people around the world that are so utterly disconnected from nature are suffering from a bad mutation? Or is it a good one? Could be that dependence on clean air and water are holding us back….. We can fight things, or adapt with them. The best to you as well, and know I only play ‘devil’s advocate’ and pose questions to exercise the ‘ol noggin a bit; and surely can claim nothing for sure but my own ignorance. Always a pleasure to find someone to spar with a bit…keeps the blade sharp.

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness March 13, 2013 at 12:07 am #

            “the consciousness of our planet is a whole new bag of worms from the topic” I absolutely couldn’t disagree more. The possibility that this world doesn’t know what the dominant culture is doing to it is the entire premise of the myth of progress, which defines the ongoing rape. It’s just a substrate for our great and noble pursuits. Like the yeast in the wine, we improve our surroundings as we obsolete ourselves. This beautiful place is not some empty stage and the other characters here are the protagonists in their own stories. The threat that industrial civilization poses to this world is utterly real, and truly existential. Don’t think we can’t turn this place into Venus.

            I’m not saying Gaia can’t turn it all around. I’d never bet against her. But to claim that the damage isn’t possible, real, and wrong is at best ignorant but is more likely a disingenuous attempt at excusing the abuse you identify with.

          • LucidDreamR March 13, 2013 at 12:22 am #

            Well, here we are entering into speculation, which is what I meant by a whole new bag of worms- as it truly is. The consciousness of our planet couldn’t be any more speculative. And exactly what threat do we pose to this planet? She has been through far worse than anything we could even think to throw at her; exponentially worse than a few hundred years of industrial humans. To think we have such profound effect on this planet is nothing short of self-centered ego stroking. Also you should be wary of judging others so quickly, especially on a thread such as this. If you had any clue how I personally lived, you wouldn’t have even entertained the idea of accusing me of being one to identify with the “abuse” of our planet. I’ve a third of an acre of garden outside, more plants in my house than I can even count… I don’t even own a car…. I’m closer to the Earth than the vast majority. Perhaps that’s why I’m able to think in terms that don’t involve humans being so damn important….

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness March 13, 2013 at 12:36 am #

            I apologize for my harshness.

            I disagree with you strongly, on what I’m not quite sure, unless you make arguments you don’t subscribe to, or that I’ve misinterpreted what you’ve written.

            I know that my own piece in this world is insignificant. That my own endeavors will likely fall fruitless before the immensity of history. The indifference of the physical world to any of our lives and efforts is part of a vast litany of slanders to any noble philosophy, and I have little to base my views upon except the flashing of lightning bugs on the pasture as I pray to some nameless god.

            Desertification, nuclear contamination, mass extiction, the acidification of the ocean, global warming (especially once the hydrates start subliming), and good god the list goes on. All at once, can set the biosphere back all the way. Archebacteria on hydrothermal vents don’t count as a living planet. She’s only got a some billions of years before the sun eats her, and she shouldn’t have to waste any of it on our fuckups.

            Again, I apologize for my tone.

          • LucidDreamR March 13, 2013 at 11:31 am #

            While your apology is appreciated and accepted, I assure you there is no need. If I were to take anything anyone ever said online personally; then the last place I should be is posting on a thread. Don’t you see how you contradict yourself in your very argument? You speak of the importance of the planet as a whole, of her systems and possible level of consciousness; yet in the same breath you speak of environmental changes that are only considered “bad” or “destructive” from the limited point of view of only some of the life on this planet, humans included. But why would that particular biosphere hold any more value than others that support different forms of life? “Archebacteria on hydrothermal vents don’t count as a living planet.” Why? What’s to say they are any more or less conscious (as though this should even be used as a standard for the importance of life) then we are? Because we act a certain way? Frankly if I were an alien observer to this planet, it would sure seem to me we are the LEAST conscious of the beings on this planet. In the grand scheme of this planet, this particular setup that allows us to come to life actually only consists of a small fraction of her lifespan. If she is conscious, wouldn’t she be alive during the rest of that time as well? Do you really believe our limited understanding of what supports life, and even what life IS- is so correct to make such bold assumptions? And lets face it: assumptions they truly are. We used to think that all other planets than Earth were “dead”, and that very little ever changed on them. We have now come to find just the opposite: it would seem nearly every planet and moon is constantly changing and evolving. Our understanding of what can support biological life has changed dramatically, as well as seeing just how many other planets have conditions that could support said life. And I’m willing to bet if our understanding continues to develop our very definition of what life is will be changing soon as well. I find it very interesting that you can speak of how “destructive” the majority of us humans are being, yet at the same time value our life and consciousness more than other creatures. Ah man and his ego!

          • LucidDreamR March 13, 2013 at 11:31 am #

            While your apology is appreciated and accepted, I assure you there is no need. If I were to take anything anyone ever said online personally; then the last place I should be is posting on a thread. Don’t you see how you contradict yourself in your very argument? You speak of the importance of the planet as a whole, of her systems and possible level of consciousness; yet in the same breath you speak of environmental changes that are only considered “bad” or “destructive” from the limited point of view of only some of the life on this planet, humans included. But why would that particular biosphere hold any more value than others that support different forms of life? “Archebacteria on hydrothermal vents don’t count as a living planet.” Why? What’s to say they are any more or less conscious (as though this should even be used as a standard for the importance of life) then we are? Because we act a certain way? Frankly if I were an alien observer to this planet, it would sure seem to me we are the LEAST conscious of the beings on this planet. In the grand scheme of this planet, this particular setup that allows us to come to life actually only consists of a small fraction of her lifespan. If she is conscious, wouldn’t she be alive during the rest of that time as well? Do you really believe our limited understanding of what supports life, and even what life IS- is so correct to make such bold assumptions? And lets face it: assumptions they truly are. We used to think that all other planets than Earth were “dead”, and that very little ever changed on them. We have now come to find just the opposite: it would seem nearly every planet and moon is constantly changing and evolving. Our understanding of what can support biological life has changed dramatically, as well as seeing just how many other planets have conditions that could support said life. And I’m willing to bet if our understanding continues to develop our very definition of what life is will be changing soon as well. I find it very interesting that you can speak of how “destructive” the majority of us humans are being, yet at the same time value our life and consciousness more than other creatures. Ah man and his ego!

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness March 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

            I wrote in haste regarding Archebacteria and I shouldn’t be so flippant about the vents. In truth, they’re sacred places to me; holdfasts that I believe will never be broken. Some day I hope to make a pilgrimage, after the Pantanal and returning to the Amazon.

            I’m no stranger to pondering geological scale. It’s a refuge for me. I often daydream about towering fungal colonies that capture Gamma radiation from collapsed nuclear reactors, turning their lethal poison into vibrant life (not to different than photosynthesis). Skyscraper sized coral reef like networks would comprise ecosystems of unparallelled diversities of strange new creatures. The marvel is tempered by the knowledge that these would only last some millions of years, only to be represented in uranium fields scattered around the world, like horseshoe crabs washed up on the beach. Such is the inevitability of all substantial things in this mortal coil.

            But on the scale that we perceive as a breathing animals with senses and emotions, I watch as friends are starved and murdered. I see the cancer growing, and I mourn the loss. Yes, all things in this world are temporary. Ashes to ashes. There is nothing new under the sun; certainly not mass extinction. But that is not to say there is not an ethical imperative to preserve life and beauty, to protect sacred things, to honor this place and those with whom we share this amazing opportunity (I’m not talking about humans, but I suppose this applies to them too). The more we understand what Life is, the less we identify as individuals. That’s what I find. And though our bodies surely die almost instantly, and all that we know and cherish is completely temporary, to call the whole thing some biased valuation, like a hick in love with his dirt patch because he hasn’t seen the wonders of the world… Well… I guess your entitled to your opinion, wrong as it may be in mine. I love this place. And though I have a great deal of trust in the Earth’s resilience, I care about her too much to advocate testing it or even indifference to the same effect.

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness March 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

            I wrote in haste regarding Archebacteria and I shouldn’t be so flippant about the vents. In truth, they’re sacred places to me; holdfasts that I believe will never be broken. Some day I hope to make a pilgrimage, after the Pantanal and returning to the Amazon.

            I’m no stranger to pondering geological scale. It’s a refuge for me. I often daydream about towering fungal colonies that capture Gamma radiation from collapsed nuclear reactors, turning their lethal poison into vibrant life (not to different than photosynthesis). Skyscraper sized coral reef like networks would comprise ecosystems of unparallelled diversities of strange new creatures. The marvel is tempered by the knowledge that these would only last some millions of years, only to be represented in uranium fields scattered around the world, like horseshoe crabs washed up on the beach. Such is the inevitability of all substantial things in this mortal coil.

            But on the scale that we perceive as a breathing animals with senses and emotions, I watch as friends are starved and murdered. I see the cancer growing, and I mourn the loss. Yes, all things in this world are temporary. Ashes to ashes. There is nothing new under the sun; certainly not mass extinction. But that is not to say there is not an ethical imperative to preserve life and beauty, to protect sacred things, to honor this place and those with whom we share this amazing opportunity (I’m not talking about humans, but I suppose this applies to them too). The more we understand what Life is, the less we identify as individuals. That’s what I find. And though our bodies surely die almost instantly, and all that we know and cherish is completely temporary, to call the whole thing some biased valuation, like a hick in love with his dirt patch because he hasn’t seen the wonders of the world… Well… I guess your entitled to your opinion, wrong as it may be in mine. I love this place. And though I have a great deal of trust in the Earth’s resilience, I care about her too much to advocate testing it or even indifference to the same effect.

          • LucidDreamR March 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

            Oh believe me; my time spent abroad and in places like Culebra and Puerto Rico have surely given me the very same appreciation for the beauty you speak. I fear you are still not really grasping what I’m saying, and that I lack the ability to articulate it any better. And frankly if you think you have to go past your own dirt patch to see the wonders of the world, I also fear you lack the ability to understand. I wonder what the tribes of the Amazon you speak of visiting would think of your hick comment? People that are closest to the Earth without a doubt- who never left their little patch of dirt. As a person of direct Native American decent myself, I find it extremely comical, and once again EXTREMELY egotistical for you to make such bold and ignorant statements. You failed to address the points raised, continue with speculation and opinion and unfortunately once again seem to be devolving to an emotional/reactive state. It is also clear that ego is a ruling force in your line of thought. Forgive me if I do not continue this discussion.

          • LucidDreamR March 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

            Oh believe me; my time spent abroad and in places like Culebra and Puerto Rico have surely given me the very same appreciation for the beauty you speak. I fear you are still not really grasping what I’m saying, and that I lack the ability to articulate it any better. And frankly if you think you have to go past your own dirt patch to see the wonders of the world, I also fear you lack the ability to understand. I wonder what the tribes of the Amazon you speak of visiting would think of your hick comment? People that are closest to the Earth without a doubt- who never left their little patch of dirt. As a person of direct Native American decent myself, I find it extremely comical, and once again EXTREMELY egotistical for you to make such bold and ignorant statements. You failed to address the points raised, continue with speculation and opinion and unfortunately once again seem to be devolving to an emotional/reactive state. It is also clear that ego is a ruling force in your line of thought. Forgive me if I do not continue this discussion.

          • LucidDreamR March 13, 2013 at 12:31 am #

            Do you find it the least bit ironic that you claim with absolute conviction we have such an impact on our environment, on the very thread for an article discussing the adaptability of rainforests to global warming?

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness March 13, 2013 at 12:39 am #

            I do.

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness March 13, 2013 at 12:39 am #

            I do.

          • Guest March 13, 2013 at 12:32 am #

            wrong spot

          • jnana March 13, 2013 at 1:00 am #

            yep, you pinned it. only someone who really observes nature unbiased(as much as possible) could come to that conclusion. Of course, that conclusion doesn’t mean one should rape and pillage heedlessly. I for one have come to a similar observation and decided that means what’s necessary is to transcend “natural” programming, not in a transhumanist sense, but instead, a spiritual sense. also, I still find it important to respect and love the earth, in fact, I find it more important, because she may be suicidally depressed.
            I give you props for thinking as an individual and not using that as a license to say “fuck it all”(at least, that’s what I gathered from yer posts)

          • Andrew March 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

            > How do we know Nature didn’t design us to cut down the trees?

            As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
            What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
            For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
            So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
            For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
            Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
            Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
            Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing
            formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
            Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
            What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured
            with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

            – Romans 9:13-22

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness March 12, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

            You can’t seriously believe that wholesale ecological destruction is our purpose on the planet. That’s atrocious, and it’s a bad faith argument. This is why I detest nihilists.

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness March 12, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

            You can’t seriously believe that wholesale ecological destruction is our purpose on the planet. That’s atrocious, and it’s a bad faith argument. This is why I detest nihilists.

          • LucidDreamR March 13, 2013 at 12:01 am #

            Purpose, no; that would imply a conscious decision made in our evolution. I really should have worded that a bit differently, and if you read down a bit I explain myself further. …though I’m afraid one may still interpret it as nihilist, if they still hold the human species as separate from evolution and nature, and at the center of the equation. I’m simply looking at the big picture.

          • jnana March 13, 2013 at 12:51 am #

            I actually intuit that “mother” nature is a suicidal girl, and we are the hands tying the noose. i’m not saying I absolutely believe it 100%, but I think its a possibility.

  4. Chaorder Gradient March 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    I thought it was common knowledge that plants enjoyed CO2… like a lot

    • BuzzCoastin March 12, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      good point, but there is a point where too much heat like over 85F (30C)
      inhibits plant growth

  5. BuzzCoastin March 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    about 25,000 years ago
    people living in what is now the ocean
    were wondering about global warming and its effects
    too bad we’ll never see what they tried to do about it
    but we can see what happened
    by looking at their submerged world on Google Earth

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