Tropical forests represent the worlds most biodiverse ecosystems and play a key role in hydrology carbon storage and exchange many of the human induced pressures these regions are facing eg fragmentation and deforestation have been widely reported and well documented however there have been surprisingly few efforts to synthesize cutting edge science in the area of tropical forest interaction with atmospheric change at a time when our global atmosphere is undergoing a period of . We present a personal perspective on the highlights of the theme issue tropical forests and global atmospheric change we highlight the key findings on the contemporary rate of climatic change in the tropics the evidence gained from field studies of large scale and rapid change in the dynamics and biomass of old growth forests and evidence of how climate change and fragmentation can interact to increase the vulnerability of plants and animals to fires a range of opinions . During the coming century the earths remaining tropical forests face the combined pressures of direct human impacts and a climatic and atmospheric situation not experienced for at least 20. 550 y malhi and 0 l phillips tropical forests and global atmospheric change tropical forest regions of 026 005 oc per decade as discussed by cramer et al 2004 global climate models suggest a further warming in all tropical forest regions of between 3 and 8 oc typically 4 oc by the end of the cen tury this suggests that by 2100 tropical temperatures will
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