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    Amazon Trees Found Vulnerable to Fire

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    Years ago a team of researchers declared that fire was, in some cases, not a significant risk to the trees of the Amazon, but they have recently changed that assertion.

    Years ago a team of researchers declared that fire was, in some cases, not a significant risk to the trees of the Amazon, but they have recently changed that assertion.

    Since 2004 they’ve been conducting burn tests in a southeast area of the forest.

    Three plots were established and two of them were burned at different time intervals. The third was left as a control.

    Early on, particularly in the plot that was burned annually, there wasn’t enough natural fodder to get an intense fire going.

    That changed in 2007, the year the area was hit by drought.

    Increased temperatures and decreased precipitation began to change the ecosystem.

    Savannah-like grasses spread into the forested areas and twigs and leaves began to accumulate on the ground.

    Combined, they served as the type of fuel that ignites and sustains high-intensity blazes.

    In areas where many trees succumbed to the flames, the landscape changed and the temperatures rose.

    A director from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology who funded the study warned, “If drought and wildfires happen in the same time-frame, there are far-reaching consequences for the health of Amazon forests. When climate change becomes part of the mix, questions for these forests loom yet larger.”