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Contrasting effects of climate and CO₂ on Amazonian ecosystems since the last glacial maximum
- BEERLING, DAVID J., MAYLE, FRANCIS E.
- Global change biology 2006 v.12 no.10 pp. 1977-1984
- biomass, carbon dioxide, carbon sequestration, climate, climate change, ecosystems, models, rain forests
- The nature of Amazonian ecosystem responses to the large-scale environmental changes characterizing glacial-interglacial cycles is poorly understood. We investigated this issue with a series of transient, continuous 21 000-year simulations using a dynamic process-based ecosystem model. Our results indicate that the Amazon Basin has been dominated by evergreen rain forests since the last glacial maximum (LGM), demonstrating the resilience of this ecosystem to glacial-interglacial environmental change. We find that biome shifts in ecotonal areas since the LGM were driven predominantly by climate change, while coincident, increased ecosystem carbon storage throughout the Amazon Basin was driven largely by CO₂. Our findings imply that recent observed biomass increases in contemporary rain forest plots might be part of a long-term trend driven by the anthropogenic rise in CO₂ over recent centuries.