Amazon rainforest grows best in dry season

March 21, 2006

University of Arizona scientists say they've made a surprising discovery: the undisturbed Amazon rainforest grows best during the dry season

"Most of the vegetation around the world follows a general pattern in which plants get green and lush during the rainy season and then during the dry season, leaves fall because there's not enough water in the soil to support plant growth," said lead researcher Alfredo Huete of The University of Arizona-Tucson.

"What we found for a large section of the Amazon is the opposite," said Huete. "As soon as the rains stop and you start to enter a dry period, the Amazon becomes alive. New leaves spring out, there's a flush of green growth and the greening continues as the dry season progresses."

Huete, a professor of soil, water and environmental science, says the finding holds true only for the undisturbed portion of the rainforest. Areas in which the primary forest has been converted to other uses or disturbed, "brown down" during the dry season.

The study appears in the March 22 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Reduction in Amazon deforestation avoids 1,700 deaths per year

Related Stories

Seven case studies in carbon and climate

November 13, 2015

Every part of the mosaic of Earth's surface—ocean and land, Arctic and tropics, forest and grassland—absorbs and releases carbon in a different way. Wild-card events such as massive wildfires and drought complicate the ...

Brazil, land of water, goes thirsty

October 31, 2015

The sign—"risk of drowning"—outside one of Rio de Janeiro's freshwater reservoirs looks like a joke: there's no water here left to drown in.

Recommended for you

NASA's space-station resupply missions to relaunch

November 29, 2015

NASA's commercial space program returns to flight this week as one of its private cargo haulers, Orbital ATK, is to launch its first supply shipment to the International Space Station in more than 13 months.

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.