International Day for Biological Diversity 2013
This year, for International Day for Biological Diversity, we are focusing on the simple, undeniable fact that all life on our planet depends on water to survive. Water is necessary everywhere, but its importance is perhaps nowhere more obvious than in the tropics where annual precipitation plays a crucial role in ecosystem dynamics.
For centuries, the forests of the Amazon Basin – roughly the size of the continental U.S. – have been large and healthy enough to produce much of the rain they need to survive, but this is changing rapidly. A study published in Nature last year reported that the Amazon’s self-sustaining water cycle could be dramatically altered due to widespread deforestation.
By 2050, this could lead to significantly reduced rainfall, perhaps up to one quarter during the dry season. This shortfall in precipitation, combined with the effects of climate change, could mean enormous changes for South America’s climate and affect agricultural production across the continent.
Likewise, lower rainfall will also mean higher incidences of drought, which could lead to increased tree mortality and eventually higher risks of fire and lower biodiversity levels.
Not all news is bad, though. Rates of forest destruction in Brazil’s Amazon have dipped markedly in the last few years. Meanwhile, we remain committed to protecting Amazonian forests. Our model of purchasing and protecting these forests helps ensure that the region’s water cycle remains stable and continues to provide suitable a habitat for endangered plant and animal species.
To see how you can make a difference this International Day for Biological Diversity, check out some of our current projects that protect both the Amazon’s climate and its astonishing biodiversity.
|Strategic Protection of Atlantic rainforests, Brazil||Restoring Habitat at REGUA, Brazil||Rebuilding Brazil’s Rainforest Tree by Tree|