大型生态系统崩溃的速度比预测的要快

2021年1月15日
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Planet’s largest ecosystems collapse faster than previously forecast

大型生态系统崩溃的速度比预测的要快

大型生态系统崩溃的速度比预测的要快

New research has shown that large ecosystems such as rainforests and coral reefs can collapse at a significantly faster rate than previously understood. The findings suggest that ecosystems the size of the Amazon forests could collapse in only 49 years and the Caribbean coral reefs in just 15 years.

新的研究表明,热带雨林和珊瑚礁等大型生态系统的崩溃速度明显快于先前的预测。研究结果表明,亚马逊森林可能在短短49年内崩溃,加勒比海珊瑚礁可能在短短15年内崩溃。

It is well known that ecosystems can transform rapidly when put under stress. Clear lakes can be transformed into green waters, coral reefs can become bleached and sparsely populated as algae disappears and rain forests can shift to savanna grassland as deforestation causes a change in humidity.

众所周知,生态系统在受到压力时会迅速转变。受到污染时,清澈的湖泊会变成绿色。由于砍伐导致的湿度变化,雨林可能会变成稀树草原。

Scientists from the University of Southampton, the School of Oriental and African Studies and the University of Bangor studied data on the transformations of 40 natural environments on land and in waters. These varied in size from small ponds to the black sea aquatic ecosystem. This data had been compiled from scientific publications, institutional reports and online databases about regime shifts and thresholds.

来自南安普顿大学、伦敦大学亚非研究学院和班戈大学的科学家研究了40个陆地和水域环境变化的数据。从小池塘到黑海,这些生态系统的大小各不相同。研究所用的数据是从科学出版物、机构报告以及在线数据库中获取的。

The team discovered that whilst larger ecosystems took longer to collapse—due to their sheer size—the rate at which the transformation occurred was significantly faster than the pace of change for smaller systems.

研究小组发现,虽然由于规模庞大,较大的生态系统崩溃所用的时间较长,但其实较大的生态系统转变的速度明显快于较小的生态系统。

The findings, published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, can be explained by the fact larger ecosystems are made up of more compartments, or sub-systems, of species and habitats. This modular set up provides resilience against stress initially; however once a certain threshold has been passed, the same modularity causes the rate at which the ecosystem unravels to accelerate. This means that ecosystems that have existed for thousands of years could collapse in less than 50.

这项研究被发表在科学期刊《自然通讯》上。更大的生态系统由更多的物种和栖息地组成。这种模块化的设置在系统受到压力的初期提供了较好的弹性,然而,一旦压力超过了某个阈值,这种模块化会导致生态系统崩溃的速度加快。这意味着存在了数千年的生态系统可能在不到50年的时间内崩溃。

John Dearing, Professor in Physical Geography at the University of Southampton, who led the research said: “The messages here are stark. We need to prepare for changes in our planet’s ecosystems that are faster than we previously envisaged.”

The unravelling effects that Professor Dearing and his team have highlighted are probably illustrated by the rapid spread of bush fires recently seen in Australia and magnify concerns about the effects that the recent fires in the Amazon rainforest will have on its ability to withstand climate change.

南安普顿大学自然地理学教授约翰·迪林领导了这项研究,他表示:“我们需要为地球生态系统的变化做好准备,这种变化的速度要比我们之前设想的要快。”。不久前,澳大利亚迅速蔓延的山火就很好地体现了迪林教授与其团队所强调的破坏性影响,这也使人们开始担忧最近亚马逊雨林大火对其抵御气候变化能力的影响。

Professor Dearing concluded, “These findings are yet another call for halting the current damage being imposed on our natural environments that pushes ecosystems to their limits.”

迪林教授总结道:“我们的发现再次呼吁我们停止对自然环境造成的破坏,这种破坏会将生态系统推向极限。”

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