It’s called a tropical paradise for a reason. Warm – day and night – year round, the rainforest is home to incredible biodiversity.

Rainforest in Costa Rica
Montane Rainforest in Costa Rica. (Photo courtesy of Timothy Perez)

But it may one day be a paradise lost. Scientists suspect that consistent mild weather over centuries has made tropical plants vulnerable to even small changes in temperature.

Perez: “The species in the tropics have adapted to that very stable climate. So small fluctuations that are resulting from climate change are going to have a bigger impact on tropical species because they’re not used to these fluctuations.”

Timothy Perez
Timothy Perez

Timothy Perez of Florida International University says despite the concern, there are a lot of unknowns.

Perez: “Tropical species are understudied when it comes to understanding how they are responding to climate change.”

But it’s important we learn more since tropical rainforests help stabilize the world’s climate by absorbing CO2 and producing oxygen.

On warmer planet, 'tropical paradise' could become 'paradise lost'. Click To Tweet

Perez: “The more people that understand how climate change is potentially affecting the most biodiverse region on earth can only help to progress society in a more sustainable direction.”

Reporting credit: Justyna Bicz/ChavoBart Digital Media.

More Resources
Thermal trouble in the tropics
Seasonal and daily climate variation have opposite effects on species elevational range size
Florida International University News: Thermal trouble in the tropics

Topics: Species & Ecosystems