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Brazilian Journal of Biology

Print version ISSN 1519-6984

Abstract

BARROS, DF  and  ALBERNAZ, ALM. Possible impacts of climate change on wetlands and its biota in the Brazilian Amazon. Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2014, vol.74, n.4, pp.810-820. ISSN 1519-6984.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1519-6984.04013.

Wetlands cover approximately 6% of the Earth's surface. They are frequently found at the interface between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and are strongly dependent on the water cycle. For this reason, wetlands are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Mangroves and floodplain ecosystems are some of the most important environments for the Amazonian population, as a source of proteins and income, and are thus the types of wetlands chosen for this review. Some of the main consequences that can be predicted from climate change for wetlands are modifications in hydrological regimes, which can cause intense droughts or inundations. A possible reduction in rainfall can cause a decrease of the areas of mangroves and floodplains, with a consequent decline in their species numbers. Conversely, an increase in rainfall would probably cause the substitution of plant species, which would not be able to survive under new conditions for a long period. An elevation in water temperature on the floodplains would cause an increase in frequency and duration of hypoxic or anoxic episodes, which might further lead to a reduction in growth rates or the reproductive success of many species. In mangroves, an increase in water temperature would influence the sea level, causing losses of these environments through coastal erosion processes. Therefore, climate change will likely cause the loss of, or reduction in, Amazonian wetlands and will challenge the adaptability of species, composition and distribution, which will probably have consequences for the human population that depend on them.

Keywords : global warming; wetlands; mangrove; floodplains; Amazonia.

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