Deforestation reduces rainfall in Africa

November 4, 2011 • Climate Change & Mitigation, Reforestation, Africa, Daily Email Recap

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Deforestation reduces rainfall in Africa

19 September 2011

Deforestation in the rainforests of West Africa reduces rainfall over the rest of the forest, according to new research published in Geophysical Research Letters.

The study shows that changing land use from forest to cropland reduces rainfall over neighbouring trees by around 50% due to changes in the surface temperature which affects the formation of rain clouds.

The authors say the findings have important implications for future decisions about land management in this region and other global rainforests such as the Amazon.

Lead author of the study, Dr Luis Garcia-Carreras from the University of Leeds, said, “We already know from satellite observations that changes in land use can have a big impact on local weather patterns. Here we have been able to show why this happens.

“Our findings suggest that it’s not just the number of trees removed that threatens the stability of the world’s rainforests, the pattern of deforestation is also important.”

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