Scientists find climate change tipping point for tropical forests

A team of researchers coordinated by the University of Leeds found rainforests can continue to absorb huge volumes of carbon if global warming remains less than 2C (35.6F) above pre-industrial levels. Increases above a threshold of 32C (89.6F) average daytime temperatures during the warmest month of the year was the point at which tropical forests’ ability to store carbon starts to diminish. Gallery: 49 years of environmental victories, in photos (National Geographic)  Fragmentation of these forests through fire and logging could also impede tree species’ ability to adapt to a changing world, even if warming is kept below 2C. Co-author Professor Beatriz Marimon, from the State University of Mato Grosso in Brazil, said: “Our results suggest that intact forests are able to withstand some climate change. “Yet these heat-tolerant trees also face immediate threats from fire and fragmentation.” “Achieving climate adaptation means first of all protecting and connecting the forests that remain.” The research suggested that in the long term, rising temperature has the greatest negative effect on forest carbon stocks by reducing growth, with drought killing off trees the second biggest factor. Professor Oliver Phillips, of the University of Leeds, urged world leaders to take the opportunity offered by the current shutdown to transition towards a stable climate.