An international team of scientists under the guidance of researchers of the University of Wageningue (Netherlands) has established a new way of classifying forests. Carrying out these mappings has become very important in this decade given the dry conditions and heat that cause the destruction of some parts of the world’s forests.
The international team found that it is possible to detect the most sensitive areas of forests with satellites, and it published the results of its research in the latest edition of Nature Climate Change. “Tropical forests are very important for biodiversity, but also for regulating the weather,” explained the main author of the article, Jan Verbesselt. “It is therefore surprising that we have not yet been able to monitor their health and to predict where dry conditions or other stress factors affect them.”
The researchers have discovered a new way of employing satellite information for detecting, ahead of time, the stress factors in forests. “The basic idea is simple,” says Marten Scheffer, another researcher who has studied the resilience capacities of complex systems. “When resilience goes down, the system takes longer to recover following minor disorders (…). And we have indeed observed that the natural change in the level of ´greenness´ of forests is lower in places we assume to be fragile.”