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Resilient reefs and rainforests can weather hurricanes
It can take years for towns and cities to recover from major hurricanes. But as humans labor to restore power and water, tropical ecosystems — some of the most diverse and complex in the world — are also beginning to rejuvenate. Scientists are now taking stock of flora and fauna in this years’ storm paths.
Bottom line: There’s an immediate and drastic impact on coral reefs, rainforests and their inhabitants. But in some cases, ecosystems can quickly recover from hurricanes because they evolved to withstand these severe storms.
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Rainforests: Hurricane Irma stripped leaves and branches off Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico. But just a few months after hurricane Hugo passed over Puerto Rico 29 years ago, trees were already beginning to grow new leaves. Studies have found that areas ravaged by landslides or cleared by heavy winds slowly regrow into new habitats. The diversity of trees isn’t diminished, though bird and bat populations decrease.
Coral reefs: Waves from major hurricanes can cause serious structural damage to coral reefs, but seem to have little impact on their ability to support life. And, although structural damage…
New satellite photos reveal the California wildfire’s shocking damage from space
More than a dozen wildfires ignited on Sunday in Northern California, a region at its driest this time of year.
Flames have consumed more than 170,000 acres of land, killed at least 23 people, destroyed thousands of homes, and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate. Napa and Sonoma counties — the heart of California wine country — are especially hard-hit.
Officials have yet to determine the origin of the Santa Rosa wildfires, but dry and powerful “Diablo winds” that blow in overnight may have stoked and spread the infernos.
Satellites in space are recording shocking views of the disaster, an event that some experts are calling one of the worst firestorms in the state’s history…