Fire effects on understory forest regeneration in southern Amazonia

Posted Posted in Biodiversity, Carbon sequestration, Fire, Forest degradation, Forest regrowth, Forest structure

There has been a large increase in deforestation and wildfire in Amazonia over recent years. Fire in tropical forests increases tree mortality, degrades forest structure, and reduces carbon stocks (Figure 1). Remote sensing now permits a rapid and accurate assessment of the location and extent of fires. On the ground and in forests, however, there are significant challenges to estimating the actual effects of fire on forests across a region the size of Europe.


Using charcoal to improve the understanding of fire behaviour in different biomes

Posted Posted in Carbon sequestration, Fire, Forest degradation, Forest management, Forest regrowth, Policy

New research in Geography at the University of Exeter is developing a charcoal reflectance methodology into a novel metric with which to assess fire severity and the amount of energy that has been delivered across burned areas in the UK, USA and Brazilian Amazon.


Refinement of IPCC default rates of aboveground net biomass change for tropical and subtropical forest

Posted Posted in Carbon sequestration, Forest management, Forest regrowth, Policy

Previous research (Feldpausch et al. 2007) by my group showed the variation in rates of carbon uptake by regrowing secondary forests. Our new research published this month refines IPCC default rates used to estimate aboveground net biomass change for tropical and subtropical forest. The results will improve estimates of forest carbon uptake for greenhouse gas accounting.


Tropical rainstorms and a wobbly rope bridge in the cloudy treetops at the Eden Project’s new Weather Maker

Posted Posted in Education, Outreach

Visitors to the Eden Project can now trek across an aerial rope bridge, shelter from tropical rain and travel through clouds thanks to the opening of a thrilling new rainforest walkway. The Weather Maker, developed with academic support from the Met Office and University of Exeter, is the latest phase of the Rainforest Canopy Walkway and will enable everyone to explore the world’s largest indoor rainforest from the treetops. Visitors can experience how rainforests affect weather and regulate the climate and see why the conservation of the world’s rainforests is vital for all of our futures.

The Weather Maker includes a wobbly canopy rope bridge stretching 23 metres across the canopy between two of the tallest trees in the 50 metre-high biome, a fully-accessible cloud bridge where visitors can travel through swirling rainforest clouds and get a sense of how they reflect sunlight and help cool the planet, and a rain shack where visitors can shelter from a tropical rainstorm and discover how rainforests make rain.


Drought stalls tree growth and shuts down Amazon carbon sink

Posted Posted in Carbon sequestration, Drought

A recent drought completely shut down the Amazon Basin’s carbon sink, by killing trees and slowing their growth, a ground-breaking study led by researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Leeds has found.

Previous research has suggested that the Amazon – the most extensive tropical forest on Earth and one of the “green lungs” of the planet – may be gradually losing its capacity to take carbon from the atmosphere. This new study, the most extensive land-based study of the effect of drought on Amazonian rainforests to date, paints a more complex picture, with forests responding dynamically to an increasingly variable climate.