Large ecosystems, such as the Amazon rain forest, may collapse and disappear alarmingly quickly, once a critical point in their destruction is reached, according to a study, published in the journal Nature Communications that calls for improved conservation efforts to protect these habitats.
Researchers, including those from the University of London in the UK, revealed the speed at which ecosystems of different sizes will disappear, once they have reached a point beyond which they transform into an alternative habitat.
The study, noted that shifts in the Earth’s ecosystems occur over human timescales of years and decades, meaning the collapse of large vulnerable ecosystems, such as the Amazon rainforest and Caribbean coral reefs, may take only a few decades once triggered.
According to the findings, once the “point of no return” is reached, the iconic Amazon rainforest could shift to a savannah-type ecosystem with a mix of trees and grass within 50 years.
Unfortunately, what our paper reveals is that humanity needs to prepare for changes far sooner than expected, said study co-author Simon Willcock from Bangor University in the UK. The scientists noted that the loss of such key stone species may lead to a rapid and dramatic change in the landscape within our lifetime.
Source: News On Air