“Given that tropical forests’ key role in housing species diversity and regulating the planet’s climate, insights into their future can build an understanding of the trajectory of the planet. But our model is not fate. It suggests that with some basic climate mitigation, we can address this issue, and helps pinpoint a few key areas that need further research. It also shows that by avoiding high-emissions pathways and deforestation, we can protect the fate of these critical realms of carbon, water, and biodiversity.”
Trees are a critical part of our planet’s response to climate change, and tropical forests play a key role in housing species diversity and regulating the planet’s climate. If they are damaged by increases in temperatures, we are losing a key line of defence and limiting nature’s ability to mitigate the impacts of human activity. Other research I have been involved in has looked at the sensitivity of tropical forests to climate, and shown that tree carbon stock is reduced at maximum temperatures above 32°C during the hottest part of the year. If we don’t do more to address climate change, the consequences could be severe.
Associate Professor in Terrestrial Ecology
Tropical forests in a changing climate
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Our courses in this area are consistently ranked among the best in the world and we have researchers considered leaders in their field in chemistry, geography, geology and environmental science.