From: Michael Reilly, Discovery News
Published June 29, 2009 10:55 AM

Rainforests More Fragile Than Estimated

The Amazon rainforest, one of the planet's most precious and besieged natural resources, is even more fragile than realized.

If the planet warms even a moderate amount, a new study predicts that as much as 40 percent of it could be condemned to vanish by the end of the century.


Chris Jones of the United Kingdom's Met Office and a group of researchers ran a computer simulation of Earth's climate that focused on how vegetation reacts to warming. They found that warming doesn't immediately kill off tropical trees -- it can take up to a century for the forests to respond fully.

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