More frequent droughts, predicted for the future, may not allow ecosystems enough time to recover before the next prolonged dry spell.
The speed at which soil is produced by rain falling on mountain slopes proves to be much faster than science had realized -- with significant implications for carbon in the atmosphere.
Attempts to tackle climate change through geo-engineering -- technological fixes -- could make the situation significantly worse, scientists report.
Weeks of unrelenting rains triggered a series of landslides in the Guatemalan town of Alaska on the Pan-American Highway, burying as many as 300 people. President Alvaro Colom warned that thousands more people are at risk as the government runs out of money to deal with the crisis.
Chinese authorities say the country's recent landslides killed at least 1,117 people. Most of the hundreds more still missing are feared dead. Heavy rains are expected to cause more landslides, while Chinese scientists, officials and soldiers scramble to cope with the current disaster.