facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Tropical forests said producing more flowers with climate change

July 8, 2013 at 3:18 PM   |   Comments

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., July 8 (UPI) -- Climate change is affecting the globe's tropical forests, with even slight temperature increases causing them produce more flowers, U.S. scientists say.

"Tropical forests are commonly thought of as the lungs of the Earth and how many flowers they produce is one vital sign of their health," Stephanie Pau, a geology professor at Florida State University, said.

"However, there is a point at which forests can get too warm and flower production will decrease. We're not seeing that yet at the sites we looked at, and whether that happens depends on how much the tropics will continue to warm."

The researchers studied flower production in two contrasting tropical forests, a seasonally dry forest on Barro Colorado Island in Panama and an "ever-wet" forest in Luquillo, Puerto Rico.

The site in Panama has been producing more flowers at an average rate of 3 percent each year over the last several decades, an increase that appears to be tied to warming temperatures, Pau said.

Flow growth is a measure of the reproductive health and overall growth of the forests, she said, and is not often considered in climate change studies.

"With most projections of future climate change, people have emphasized the impact on high-latitude ecosystems because that is where temperatures will increase the most," Pau said. "The tropics, which are already warm, probably won't experience as much of a temperature increase as high-latitude regions.

"Even so, we're showing that these tropical forests are still really sensitive to small degrees of change."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Chimps caught on film raiding corn farm, having sex Chimps caught on film raiding corn farm, having sex
2
Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal
3
Dude! Company floats fly hoverboard Dude! Company floats fly hoverboard
4
Protestors object plans to build telescope on land sacred to native Hawaiians Protestors object plans to build telescope on land sacred to native Hawaiians
5
Hurricane helps U.K. wind power briefly overtake nuclear Hurricane helps U.K. wind power briefly overtake nuclear
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback