Amazon storm killed half a billion trees – study

RIO DE JANEIRO, (Reuters) – A powerful storm  destroyed about half a billion trees in the Amazon in 2005,  according to a study yesterday that shows how the world’s  forests may be vulnerable to more violent weather caused by  climate change.

Researchers at Tulane University in New Orleans used  satellite data, on-site observations and computer models to  calculate that between 441 million and 663 million trees were  killed by the storm that swept through the region in January  2005.

The destruction was equivalent to about 30 percent of the  total deforestation caused by humans in the region around the  city of Manaus that year, the study found.

“In terms of deforestation in the Amazon they’re not  comparable. They are completely different pro-cesses,” study  co-author Jeff Chambers, who has been studying the Amazon for nearly 20 years, told Reuters. “That being said, it was a huge  storm.”

Chambers said the results of the study showed a widespread  drought in the Amazon that year, which had been blamed for the  tree loss, was not the main culprit.

Around the Web