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Rainforests only grow in a few small areas of Australia: they are a remnant of when the continent was still part of Gondwana and home to unique flora and fauna. But the ecosystem may face massive changes due to rapid climate change, As a study by David Bowman of the University of Oxford and his team reports in the journal NatureAccording to the findings, the life expectancy of many tree species in rainforests has been halved in the past 40 years. They die much earlier.
The working group evaluated data from nearly 75,000 trees from 81 years and from 24 sites from the period between 1971, when recording began, and 2019. On average, the risk of a tree dying prematurely has doubled, particularly since 1984. Areas becoming drier Particularly affected: Species that have adapted to humid conditions are less able to withstand increased drought stress and die more easily. Additionally, these losses were not compensated for by new trees growing back or by competitors that sprouted more vigorously. Drought caused or exacerbated by climate change also makes these typically moist forests more vulnerable to fires, to which the dominant species are not adapted. And so the Gondwana rainforests could recede even further — or disappear altogether after millions of years.
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