Ecology

Drought in tropical forests

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  12 Apr 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6436, pp. 142-143
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6436.142-a

Signs of climate change causing drought in a rain forest

PHOTO: NASA/JPL

In the context of a changing global climate, ecologists are examining the effects of drought on ecosystems. Drought has increased in several of the world's forested zones, including tropical West Africa, where Aguirre-Gutiérrez et al. have studied the multidecadal consequences of climate drying on forest composition and plant traits. In the Ghanaian study sites, drought has become more prevalent since the 1970s, and the authors were able to compare the responses of wetter and drier forests along a precipitation gradient. The drier forests were more able to adapt to further drought than were wetter forests and shifted toward a greater proportion of deciduous trees—a change that may enhance the resilience of the drier forest to further climatic change.

Ecol. Lett. 22, 855 (2019).

Navigate This Article