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[翻译]Climate Change Blamed for Dying African Trees

来源:慢速英语   时间:2011-12-15 09:11:45

土地退化导致树木濒临灭绝 气候变化指责人类是其元凶

A lot of trees are dying in Africa’s Sahel region and new study says climate change caused by humans is to blame. What’s more, many tree species are also disappearing.

在非洲的萨赫勒地区,很多树正在死亡,新的研究指出气候变化的罪魁祸首是人类。更重要的是,许多树的种类也即将濒临灭绝。

The study appears in the Journal of Arid Environments. Climate change scientist Patrick Gonzalez led the research on six countries. At the time of the study, Gonzalez was a visiting scholar at the Center for Forestry at the University of California at Berkeley.

这项研究发表在《Journal of Arid Environment》杂志上。气候变化的科学家帕特里克·冈萨雷斯领导了这项在六个国家的研究。在研究中,冈萨雷斯是柏克莱加州大学林业中心的访问学者。

“We conducted our research in the African Sahel, an arid region on the edge of the Sahara where people depend on trees for survival. And the Sahel has experienced the most severe drought in the world in the modern rainfall measurement record,” he said.

“我们对于萨赫勒地区和几近哈拉沙漠的干旱区进行了研究,那里的人们依靠树才得以生存。通过世界现代降雨测量记录显示,萨赫勒地区经历了最严重的干旱。”他说道。

Drying up

The research shows that during the 20th Century rainfall in the Sahel dropped between 20 and 30 percent.

研究表明,在20世纪萨赫勒地区的降雨量在下降了20%至30%。

“One in six trees died in the last half of the 20th Century and, second, one in five tree species disappeared locally. And then third, together these changes shifted vegetation zones southward toward areas of more rainfall,” he said.

“六分之一的树死于上个年代。第二,地五分之一的树种消失。然后第三,这些变化使植被区转移到向南降雨量较多的地区。”他说道。
 

Rainfall in the African Sahel declined more than anywhere else in the world in the period of recorded measurements, causing increased aridity, as evidenced by this dust storm in Senegal.

Possible causes of the vegetation shift include declining rainfall, growing human population and decreasing soil fertility.

植被转移的可能原因包括降雨减少,人口增长及土壤肥力的下降。

“Our statistical comparison showed that climate outweighed the other factors. So, climate change was the main cause of the loss of the trees. Closer to the Sahara you have arid zone trees like Acacia with thorns. Very dry trees. And then as you move farther south towards the Equator, you have species that have fruits and hardwood and species that require more rainfall, that require moister conditions,” he said.

“我们的统计比较表明,气候问题是主要因素。因此,气候变化是树大量损失的主要原因。接近撒哈拉沙漠,有长满荆棘的金合欢属。这是一种适合干燥地区生长的树木。然后,当你向赤道以南方移动,你会发现会有结果实及硬木的物种,们需要更多的降雨,也需要更湿润的生长环境。”他说道。

The study blames the climate change in the Sahel on motor vehicle and power plant emissions and other human activity over the years.

研究把萨赫勒地区的气候变化归咎于机动车辆,电厂排放及这些年的人类活动。

Gonzalez described conditions near the Sahara as long-term land degradation.

冈萨雷斯在描述撒哈拉附近的地区的自然条件时,他称之为长期的土地退化。

“So we actually are showing a form of desertification. Desertification is land degradation. We’re not showing a shift of the sands of the Sahara, but what we are showing is a degradation far south of the Sahara within the Sahel within the Sudan, within Guinea. Those are the zones south of the Sahara,” he said.

“所以我们实际是想说明一种沙漠化。沙漠化即是土地退化。我们不是想说明撒哈拉沙漠沙漠的转移,我们真正想说明的是一种远在撒哈拉以南的土地退化,在萨赫勒地区,苏丹,在几内亚。那些都是撒哈拉以南的地区。”他说道。

Adapting, averting

Local populations in the region have roots going back more than a thousand years and relocating is not an option. Indigenous people are adapting to climate change, for example, by caring for and pruning small trees until they're mature. Such a practice can help double tree density in a field.

在该地区的当地居民早在1000多年前就在此扎根,他们迁徙根本不是良策。原住民已经适应气候变化,例如照料和修剪小树,直到这些树长大。这样的举措可以使这一地区树的密度加倍。

However, Gonzalez said local populations cannot address climate change by themselves. He says the international community must act.

但是,冈萨雷斯表示当地人不能自己解决气候变化问题。他表示国际社会必须采取行动。

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – that’s the top scientific panel that examines climate change and I sit on that panel – has shown that we, in the United States, and other industrialized nations have it in our power using current technologies and practices to avert more drastic impacts around the world by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“联合国气候变化政府间专家委员会是一个顶尖研究气候变化的小组,他们向我展示美国和其他发达国家的正在使用他们目前的技术和措施以避免温室气体的排放给世界带来更剧烈的影响。”他说道。

Gonzalez was joined in the research by Compton Tucker, senior earth scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Hamady Sy, Mauritania’s country representative at the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. Both NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey provided funding for the study.

冈萨雷斯也加入了美国国家航空航天局戈达德宇宙飞行中心的高级地球科学家兼茅利塔尼亚国家饥荒预警系统网络代表康普顿·塔克的研究中。美国宇航局和美国地质调查提供资金进行研究。

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