Amazon Rainforest Droughts Connect Respiratory Issues to Deforestation
Who would have thought droughts would be a problem in the Amazon rainforest?
Yet this is precisely what is occurring, as a result of the deforestation of these rich rainforests.
Now Brazilian health officials are reporting that droughts have significantly increased hospitalizations for respiratory problems among Brazilian Amazon children of up to 267%.
The study analyzed hospitalizations among five municipalities in the Brazilian Amazon region. They found that respiratory hospitalizations were related to periods of drought.
Further increases in respiratory problems were found during periods of forest burning.
While droughts in the Amazon have appeared about once a decade, an increase in mega-droughts has occurred over the last decade. This has corresponded with the increased deforestation of the region.
The connection between Amazon drought and deforestation was confirmed by another new study, this published in the Journal of Climate.
The researchers used climate models to determine that the diminished water content on the ground has produced less evaporation and this has resulted in a 7% reduction of water recycling between rainfall and water sources on the ground.
In other words, when rainforests are ripped out, less water becomes available for evaporation, producing less rainfall.
The Amazon rainforest is a resource from some of the last remaining wild herbal medicines.
Lauren T. Smith, Luiz E. O. C. Aragão, Clive E. Sabel, Tomoki Nakaya. Drought impacts on children’s respiratory health in the Brazilian Amazon. Scientific Reports 4, Article number: 3726 doi:10.1038/srep03726.
Bagley, Justin E.; Desai, Ankur R.; Harding, Keith J.; Snyder, Peter K.; Foley, Jonathan A. Drought and Deforestation: Has Land Cover Change Influenced Recent Precipitation Extremes in the Amazon? Journal of Climate . Jan2014, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p345-361. 17p.