Thursday, February 09, 2006

Amazonia


"(...) Because the dynamics of the Amazon River Basin play a major role in environmental conditions that affect the whole Earth, changes in climate and land use in the Amazon take on global importance. During the past 15 years more than 190,000 square miles (1 square mile is about 2.6 square kilometers) of forest have been cleared in the Amazon Basin, and 7,700 square miles are now being cleared each year. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of future plants, animals, mushrooms, and insects have already been lost. Deforestation alters the ancient forests’ exchanges of water, carbon, and energy with the atmosphere—cycles that even now, we only partially understand. What are the impacts of land cover change in Amazonia both locally and globally?
In 1993, the Brazilian science community, joined by an international team of scientists, began to plan a continental-scale study to answer that question. They established the Large-scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) to study how Amazonia currently functions as a regional entity within the larger Earth system, and how changes in land use and climate will affect the biological, physical, and chemical functioning of the region’s ecosystem. (...)" (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/LBA/)

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