Researchers from Ghana and the UK have found that, despite the fact that over the last 40 years in West Africa experienced a very sharp lack of moisture due to drought, the biomass in the region is not diminished, becoming consume even more carbon dioxide. This discovery completely refuted the assumption that with the onset of drought the plants dry up and, without exception, instead of the absorption of CO2 from the air, begin releasing it into the atmosphere, compounding the environmental situation.
The national park Kakuma, Ghana.
During the observations, which lasted from 1990 to the year 2010, were examined over 10,000 specimens of trees, which not only will not yield to drought conditions with reduced rainfall up to 23%, but on the contrary, began to flourish. In general, among them were less demanding and more adaptable species. Loss of plants in the absence of the required amount of moisture stands out only during the short drought.
If the drought lasts for decades, as in the case of the forests of West Africa, the flora simply a redistribution of roles. The overall balance of the circulation of carbon dioxide remains intact due to the fact that the foreground light-loving plants with low water consumption, starting outman shade-loving evergreen tropical species. In the former, as if immune to drought. Forest biomass in this scenario can greatly increase, which only benefit environmentalists.
Scientists still difficult to say whether to ignore drought in other parts of the world, because they are not sure that in other continents by prolonged lack of water plants themselves will find a way out. Despite the persistence of the total biomass, the number of species in a tropical forest has been steadily declining. But for scientists it is obvious that for short and extended droughts in the modeling and forecasting should be used very different strategies.