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Google’s Amazon Rainforest Street View Is Ready For You To Explore

Google’s Amazon Rainforest Street View Is Ready For You To Explore | Rainforest's | Scoop.it

"Back in August, Google announced that it was teaming up with nonprofit Foundation for a Sustainable Amazon to map a small section of the massive Rio Negro river (tributary of the Amazon) near Manaus."  Virtual field trip, here we come!


Via Kevreadenn, Lindsay Coogan, Seth Dixon
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Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, September 29, 8:06 PM
Google teamed up with a nonprofit Foundation for a Sustainable Amazon to map out part of the Rio Negro river. The goal of this is to make it easier for everyone to view the Amazon rainforest. Instead, of viewing the forest by a plane or boat. The remarkable part was 50,000 still pictures where taken and stitched together to make this street view for humans who could never have the oppurtnutiy to view this natural wonder. So now we all can go to google maps and look at the pictures this nonprofit and google accumulated and put together of the rainforest.
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Amazon Rainforest is ‘at Higher Risk of Tree Loss’ than ever before due to Global Warming

Amazon Rainforest is ‘at Higher Risk of Tree Loss’ than ever before due to Global Warming | Rainforest's | Scoop.it
Part of the Amazon rainforest may be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than first thought, say researchers.

 

Findings showed that since 1979, the dry season lasted about a week longer in each decade. At the same time, the annual fire seasons have become longer. The most likely explanation for the increasingly longer dry seasons is global warming.

 

If the damage is severe enough, they say the loss of rainforest could cause the release of large volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and could also disrupt plant and animal communities in one of the world’s most biodiversity-rich regions, as outlined in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

 

The team used ground-based rainfall measurements from the past three decades. Findings showed that since 1979, the dry season in southern Amazonia lasted about a week longer in each decade.

 

Professor Fu and her colleagues say the water stored in the forest soil at the end of each wet season is all that the trees have to last them through the dry months. The longer that lasts – regardless of how wet the wet season was – the more stressed the trees become and the more susceptible they are to forest fires.

 

They say the most likely explanation for the lengthening dry season in recent decades is human-caused greenhouse warming, which inhibits rainfall in two ways: It makes it harder for warm, dry air near the surface to rise and freely mix with cool, moist air above; and it blocks incursions by cold weather fronts from outside the tropics which could trigger rainfall.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Sydney Huang's curator insight, November 21, 2013 3:58 PM

I.D. The amazon rainforest may be losing trees due to dry seasons.

 

S.D. It was shown that in 1979, the dry season lasted about a week londer in each deacade.

S.D. The most likely explanation for these dry seasons is global warming.

 

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Survey of Panamanian rainforest species count puts number of species worldwide at 6 million

Survey of Panamanian rainforest species count puts number of species worldwide at 6 million | Rainforest's | Scoop.it

For two years, entomologists hoisted themselves up in cranes amid the towering trees of the Panamanian tropics. They glided along treetops harnessed to a helium-filled balloon, and hiked through the moonlit jungle to set traps that use light as bait — all to come up with an informed estimate on the biodiversity of arthropods.

It took another eight years to identify the 129,494 specimens, and to extrapolate that number to come up with a global estimate of six million species. Arthropods, which are distinguished from other animals by their hard, jointed exoskeletons, include insects, arachnids and crustaceans. There are more species of arthropod than of any other group, and their diversity is greatest in the tropical rainforest — so biologists scale-up the richness of rainforest populations to make global estimates.

In 1982, entomologist Terry Erwin at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC 'fogged', or sprayed, one species of tree in a Panamanian tropical forest with insecticide and identified the beetle species that dropped to the forest floor. Using his best estimate of the proportion of tree beetles to ground beetles, and of beetles to insects, he predicted that there were more than 30 million insect species worldwide. Almost three decades later, Hamilton fogged plant-eating insects on several tropical trees in New Guinea and, by a similar method, reduced the global estimate to six million.

Both studies used a subgroup of insects to predict overall numbers, whereas the new work is all-encompassing — counting all types of arthropod in larger sections of forest. “What’s phenomenal about this new study is that they cut through all of the assumptions we used,” Hamilton says. “Rather than assuming that one taxon represents another, they looked at the whole community.”

Yves Basset, an entomologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City, and his team collected arthropods in twelve plots, each roughly the size of a tennis court, in the San Lorenzo forest in Panama. They returned with 6,144 species, hundreds of which may be new discoveries. Plots with more tree species contained more arthropod species. The team built a model to predict arthropod diversity on the basis of the fact that for every species of tree or other vascular plant (including ferns and flowering plants), there were around 20 species of arthropod. Basset says that this model makes it easier for biologists to estimate arthropod diversity because “plants are much, much easier to survey”.

Based on the number of tree species in the world, the team's estimate is in keeping with Hamilton’s prediction of six million arthropod species globally. “We know only a fraction of this diversity, perhaps just one million out of six million,” Basset says. With less diversity than the 30 million that Erwin predicted, Basset says that it is possible for humans to one day discover it all.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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NASA Study Finds That Amazon Rainforest Inhales More Carbon than It Emits

NASA Study Finds That Amazon Rainforest Inhales More Carbon than It Emits | Rainforest's | Scoop.it

A new NASA-led study seven years in the making has confirmed that natural forests in the Amazon remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit, therefore reducing global warming. This finding resolves a long-standing debate about a key component of the overall carbon balance of the Amazon basin.

 

The Amazon's carbon balance is a matter of life and death: living trees take carbon dioxide out of the air as they grow, and dead trees put the greenhouse gas back into the air as they decompose. The new study, published in Nature Communications on March 18, is the first to measure tree deaths caused by natural processes throughout the Amazon forest, even in remote areas where no data have been collected at ground level.

 

Fernando Espírito-Santo of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., lead author of the study, created new techniques to analyze satellite and other data. He found that each year, dead Amazonian trees emit an estimated 1.9 billion tons (1.7 billion metric tons) of carbon to the atmosphere. To compare this with Amazon carbon absorption, the researchers used censuses of forest growth and different modeling scenarios that accounted for uncertainties. In every scenario, carbon absorption by living trees outweighed emissions from the dead ones, indicating that the prevailing effect in natural forests of the Amazon is absorption.

 

Until now, scientists had only been able to estimate the Amazon's carbon balance from limited observations in small forest areas called plots. On these plots, the forest removes more carbon than it emits, but the scientific community has been vigorously debating how well the plots represent all the natural processes in the huge Amazon region. That debate began with the discovery in the 1990s that large areas of the forest can be killed off by intense storms in events called blowdowns.

 

Espírito-Santo said that the idea for the study arose from a 2006 workshop where scientists from several nations came together to identify NASA satellite instruments that might help them better understand the carbon cycle of the Amazon. In the years since then, he worked with 21 coauthors in five nations to measure the carbon impacts of tree deaths in the Amazon from all natural causes -- from large-area blowdowns to single trees that died of old age. He used airborne lidar data, satellite images, and a 10-year set of plot measurements collected by the University of Leeds, England, under the leadership of Emanuel Gloor and Oliver Phillips. He estimates that he himself spent a year-and-a-half doing fieldwork in the Amazon.

 

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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