204 research outputs found

    Compositional response of Amazon forests to climate change

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    Most of the planet\u27s diversity is concentrated in the tropics, which includes many regions undergoing rapid climate change. Yet, while climate-induced biodiversity changes are widely documented elsewhere, few studies have addressed this issue for lowland tropical ecosystems. Here we investigate whether the floristic and functional composition of intact lowland Amazonian forests have been changing by evaluating records from 106 long-term inventory plots spanning 30 years. We analyse three traits that have been hypothesized to respond to different environmental drivers (increase in moisture stress and atmospheric CO 2 concentrations): maximum tree size, biogeographic water-deficit affiliation and wood density. Tree communities have become increasingly dominated by large-statured taxa, but to date there has been no detectable change in mean wood density or water deficit affiliation at the community level, despite most forest plots having experienced an intensification of the dry season. However, among newly recruited trees, dry-affiliated genera have become more abundant, while the mortality of wet-affiliated genera has increased in those plots where the dry season has intensified most. Thus, a slow shift to a more dry-affiliated Amazonia is underway, with changes in compositional dynamics (recruits and mortality) consistent with climate-change drivers, but yet to significantly impact whole-community composition. The Amazon observational record suggests that the increase in atmospheric CO 2 is driving a shift within tree communities to large-statured species and that climate changes to date will impact forest composition, but long generation times of tropical trees mean that biodiversity change is lagging behind climate change

    Development of forest structure and leaf area in secondary forests regenerating on abandoned pastures in Central Amazonia

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    The area of secondary forest (SF) regenerating from pastures is increasing in the Amazon basin; however, the return of forest and canopy structure following abandonment is not well understood. This study examined the development of leaf area index (LAI), canopy cover, aboveground biomass, stem density, diameter at breast height (DBH), and basal area ( BA) by growth form and diameter class for 10 SFs regenerating from abandoned pastures. Biomass accrual was tree dominated, constituting >= 94% of the total measured biomass in all forests abandoned >= 4 to 6 yr. Vine biomass increased with forest age, but its relative contribution to total biomass decreased with time. The forests were dominated by the tree Vismia spp. (> 50%). Tree stem density peaked after 6 to 8 yr ( 10 320 stems per hectare) before declining by 42% in the 12- to 14-yr-old SFs. Small-diameter tree stems in the 1-5-cm size class composed > 58% of the total stems for all forests. After 12 to 14 yr, there was no significant leaf area below 150-cm height. Leaf area return (LAI = 3.2 after 12 to 14 yr) relative to biomass was slower than literature-reported recovery following slash-and-burn, where LAI can reach primary forest levels ( LAI = 4 - 6) in 5 yr. After 12 to 14 yr, the colonizing vegetation returned some components of forest structure to values reported for primary forest. Basal area and LAI were 50% - 60%, canopy cover and stem density were nearly 100%, and the rapid tree-dominated biomass accrual was 25% - 50% of values reported for primary forest. Biomass accumulation may reach an asymptote earlier than expected because of even-aged, monospecific, untiered stand structure. The very slow leaf area accumulation relative to biomass and to reported values for recovery following slash-and-burn indicates a different canopy development pathway that warrants further investigation of causes ( e. g., nutrient limitations, competition) and effects on processes such as evapotranspiration and soil water uptake, which would influence long-term recovery rates and have regional implications

    Forest fire history in Amazonia inferred from intensive soil charcoal sampling and radiocarbon dating

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    This study was supported by funding from the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC, NE/N011570/1 and NE/R017980/1) and a radiocarbon dating allocation (allocation 2122.0818) from the NERC-funded NEIF Radiocarbon Laboratory.Fire has a historical role in tropical forests related to past climate and ancient land use spanning the Holocene; however, it is unclear from charcoal records how fire varied at different spatiotemporal scales and what sampling strategies are required to determine fire history and their effects. We evaluated fire variation in structurally intact, terra-firme Amazon forests, by intensive soil charcoal sampling from three replicate soil pits in sites in Guyana and northern and southern Peru. We used radiocarbon (14C) measurement to assess (1) locally, how the timing of fires represented in our sample varied across the surface of forest plots and with soil depth, (2) basin-wide, how the age of fires varies across climate and environmental gradients, and (3) how many samples are appropriate when applying the 14C approach to assess the date of last fire. Considering all 14C dates (n = 33), the most recent fires occurred at a similar time at each of the three sites (median ages: 728–851 cal years BP), indicating that in terms of fire disturbance at least, these forests could be considered old-growth. The number of unique fire events ranged from 1 to 4 per pit and from 4 to 6 per site. Based upon our sampling strategy, the N-Peru site—with the highest annual precipitation—had the most fire events. Median fire return intervals varied from 455 to 2,950 cal years BP among sites. Based on available dates, at least three samples (1 from the top of each of 3 pits) are required for the sampling to have a reasonable likelihood of capturing the most recent fire for forests with no history of a recent fire. The maximum fire return interval for two sites was shorter than the time since the last fire, suggesting that over the past ∼800 years these forests have undergone a longer fire-free period than the past 2,000–3,500 years. Our analysis from terra-firme forest soils helps to improve understanding of changes in fire regime, information necessary to evaluate post-fire legacies on modern vegetation and soil and to calibrate models to predict forest response to fire under climate change.Publisher PDFPeer reviewe

    Necromass in forests of Madre de Dios, Peru: a comparison between terra firme and lowland forests

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    La cantidad de madera muerta o necromasa representa una importante porción de la biomasa y de los nutrientes en los bosques tropicales. Los objetivos de este estudio son: 1) hacer una evaluación y comparación entre la necromasa de los bosques de altura o tierra firme y los bosques inundables o bajíos, (2) estudiar las relaciones entre la necromasa, la biomasa aérea y la densidad de madera del bosque, y (3) proporcionar una primera estimación de la necromasa para todo el departamento de Madre de Dios. La necromasa gruesa y la masa aérea vegetativa fueron estudiados en tres diferentes lugares utilizando parcelas permanentes y líneas de intersección. El promedio del volumen de madera muerta gruesa fue de 72,9 m3 ha-1, con un peso entre 24,8 y 30,7 Mg ha-1 dependiendo de la densidad de madera muerta usada en los cálculos. Los bosques de tierra firme contienen significativamente más madera muerta que los bosques inundables. La necromasa constituye 11% de la masa aérea vegetativa almacenada en los bosques de Madre de Dios. Finalmente, se estima que el departamento de Madre de Dios contiene alrededor de 100 mega toneladas de carbono en su madera muerta. Este valor es bastante alto, siendo diez veces más que la emisión anual de combustibles fósiles de Perú entre 2000 – 2008. Esta substancial porción de la necromasa enfatiza la importancia de estos tipos de estudios de campo, considerando que este componente de carbono en el bosque tropical no se logra detectar con otros métodos como la detección remota por satélites.Stocks of dead wood or necromass represent an important portion of biomass and nutrients in tropical forests. The objectives of this study were: 1) to evaluate and compare the necromass of “terra firme” and lowlands forests, (2) to study the relationship between necromass, above-ground biomass and wood density, and (3) to estimate the necromass of the department of Madre de Dios, Peru. Stocks of necromass and above-ground biomass were estimated at three different locations using permanent plots and line intercept transects. The average volume of necromass for the three sites was 72.9 m3 ha-1 with an average weight varying between 24.8 and 30.7 Mg ha-1, depending on the estimations of dead wood density used for the calculations. Terra firme forests had significantly higher stocks of necromass than lowland forests. The amount of necromass was 11% of the total above-ground biomass in Madre de Dios forests. The total stock of carbon stored in dead wood for the entire department of Madre de Dios was estimated to be approximately 100 mega tonnes of carbon. This is ten times more than the annual fossil fuel emissions of Peru between 2000 and 2008. The substantial stocks of necromass emphasize the importance of these types of field studies, considering that this component of tropical forest carbon cannot be detected using other methods such as satellite remote sensing

    Soil pyrogenic carbon in southern Amazonia: Interaction between soil, climate, and above-ground biomass

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    The Amazon forest represents one of the world’s largest terrestrial carbon reservoirs. Here, we evaluated the role of soil texture, climate, vegetation, and distance to savanna on the distribution and stocks of soil pyrogenic carbon (PyC) in intact forests with no history of recent fire spanning the southern Amazonia forest-Cerrado Zone of Transition (ZOT). In 19 one hectare forest plots, including three Amazonian Dark Earth (ADE, terra preta) sites with high soil PyC, we measured all trees and lianas with diameter ≥ 10 cm and analyzed soil physicochemical properties, including texture and PyC stocks. We quantified PyC stocks as a proportion of total organic carbon using hydrogen pyrolysis. We used multiple linear regression and variance partitioning to determine which variables best explain soil PyC variation. For all forests combined, soil PyC stocks ranged between 0.9 and 6.8 Mg/ha to 30 cm depth (mean 2.3 ± 1.5 Mg/ha) and PyC, on average, represented 4.3% of the total soil organic carbon (SOC). The most parsimonious model (based on AICc) included soil clay content and above-ground biomass (AGB) as the main predictors, explaining 71% of soil PyC variation. After removal of the ADE plots, PyC stocks ranged between 0.9 and 3.8 Mg/ha (mean 1.9 ± 0.8 Mg/ha–1) and PyC continued to represent ∼4% of the total SOC. The most parsimonious models without ADE included AGB and sand as the best predictors, with sand and PyC having an inverse relationship, and sand explaining 65% of the soil PyC variation. Partial regression analysis did not identify any of the components (climatic, environmental, and edaphic), pure or shared, as important in explaining soil PyC variation with or without ADE plots. We observed a substantial amount of soil PyC, even excluding ADE forests; however, contrary to expectations, soil PyC stocks were not higher nearer to the fire-dependent Cerrado than more humid regions of Amazonia. Our findings that soil texture and AGB explain the distribution and amount of soil PyC in ZOT forests will help to improve model estimates of SOC change with further climatic warming

    Tallo: A global tree allometry and crown architecture database

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    Data capturing multiple axes of tree size and shape, such as a tree's stem diameter, height and crown size, underpin a wide range of ecological research—from developing and testing theory on forest structure and dynamics, to estimating forest carbon stocks and their uncertainties, and integrating remote sensing imagery into forest monitoring programmes. However, these data can be surprisingly hard to come by, particularly for certain regions of the world and for specific taxonomic groups, posing a real barrier to progress in these fields. To overcome this challenge, we developed the Tallo database, a collection of 498,838 georeferenced and taxonomically standardized records of individual trees for which stem diameter, height and/or crown radius have been measured. These data were collected at 61,856 globally distributed sites, spanning all major forested and non-forested biomes. The majority of trees in the database are identified to species (88%), and collectively Tallo includes data for 5163 species distributed across 1453 genera and 187 plant families. The database is publicly archived under a CC-BY 4.0 licence and can be access from: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6637599. To demonstrate its value, here we present three case studies that highlight how the Tallo database can be used to address a range of theoretical and applied questions in ecology—from testing the predictions of metabolic scaling theory, to exploring the limits of tree allometric plasticity along environmental gradients and modelling global variation in maximum attainable tree height. In doing so, we provide a key resource for field ecologists, remote sensing researchers and the modelling community working together to better understand the role that trees play in regulating the terrestrial carbon cycle.EEA Santa CruzFil: Jucker, Tommaso. University of Bristol. School of Biological Sciences; Reino UnidoFil: Fischer, Fabian Jörg. University of Bristol. School of Biological Sciences; Reino UnidoFil: Chave, Jérôme. Laboratoire Évolution et Diversité Biologique (EDB); FranciaFil: Chave, Jérôme. Université Toulouse; FranciaFil: Coomes, David A. University of Cambridge. Conservation Research Institute; Reino UnidoFil: Caspersen, John. University of Toronto. Institute of Forestry and Conservation; Canadá.Fil: Ali, Arshad. Hebei University. College of Life Sciences. Forest Ecology Research Group; China.Fil: Loubota Panzou, Grace Jopaul. Université de Liège, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech; BélgicaFil: Loubota Panzou, Grace Jopaul. Université Marien Ngouabi. Faculté des Sciences et Techniques. Laboratoire de Biodiversité, de Gestion des Ecosystèmes et de l'Environnement (LBGE); Republica del CongoFil: Feldpausch, Ted R. University of Exeter. College of Life and Environmental Sciences; Reino UnidoFil: Falster, Daniel. University of New South Wales Sydney. Evolution & Ecology Research Centre; Australia.Fil: Usoltsev, Vladimir A. Ural State Forest Engineering University. Department of Forestry; Rusia.Fil: Usoltsev, Vladimir A. Botanical Garden of the Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences. Department of Forest Dynamics; Rusia.Fil: Peri, Pablo Luis. Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA). Estación Experimental Agropecuaria Santa Cruz; Argentina.Fil: Peri, Pablo Luis. Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia Austral; Argentina.Fil: Peri, Pablo Luis. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina.Fil: Xiang, Wenhua. Central South University of Forestry and Technology. Faculty of Life Science and Technology; China

    Size and frequency of natural forest disturbances and Amazon carbon balance

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    Forest inventory studies in the Amazon indicate a large terrestrial carbon sink. However, field plots may fail to represent forest mortality processes at landscape-scales of tropical forests. Here we characterize the frequency distribution of disturbance events in natural forests from 0.01 ha to 2,651 ha size throughout Amazonia using a novel combination of forest inventory, airborne lidar and satellite remote sensing data. We find that small-scale mortality events are responsible for aboveground biomass losses of B1.28 Pg C y 1 over the entire Amazon region. We also find that intermediate-scale disturbances account for losses of B0.01 Pg C y 1 , and that the largest-scale disturbances as a result of blow-downs only account for losses of B0.003 Pg C y 1 . Simulation of growth and mortality indicates that even when all carbon losses from intermediate and large-scale disturbances are considered, these are outweighed by the net biomass accumulation by tree growth, supporting the inference of an Amazon carbon sink

    Author Correction: Tree mode of death and mortality risk factors across Amazon forests

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    The original version of this Article contained an error in Table 2, where the number of individuals in the “All Amazonia” row was reported as 11,6431 instead of 116,431. Also, the original version of this Article contained an error in the Methods, where the R2 for the proportion of broken/uprooted dead trees increase per year was reported as 0.12, the correct value being 0.06. The original version of this Article contained errors in the author affiliations. The affiliation of Gerardo A. Aymard C. with UNELLEZGuanare, Herbario Universitario (PORT), Portuguesa, Venezuela Compensation International Progress S.A. Ciprogress–Greenlife

    Tree mode of death and mortality risk factors across Amazon forests

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    The carbon sink capacity of tropical forests is substantially affected by tree mortality. However, the main drivers of tropical tree death remain largely unknown. Here we present a pan-Amazonian assessment of how and why trees die, analysing over 120,000 trees representing > 3800 species from 189 long-term RAINFOR forest plots. While tree mortality rates vary greatly Amazon-wide, on average trees are as likely to die standing as they are broken or uprooted—modes of death with different ecological consequences. Species-level growth rate is the single most important predictor of tree death in Amazonia, with faster growing species being at higher risk. Within species, however, the slowest-growing trees are at greatest risk while the effect of tree size varies across the basin. In the driest Amazonian region species-level bioclimatic distributional patterns also predict the risk of death, suggesting that these forests are experiencing climatic conditions beyond their adaptative limits. These results provide not only a holistic pan-Amazonian picture of tree death but large scale evidence for the overarching importance of the growth–survival trade-off in driving tropical tree mortality.The analysis undertaken here was largely funded by the NERC-funded TREMOR project (NE/N004655/1) to D.G., R.J.W.B., E.G. and O.L.P. A.E.-M. was funded by TREMOR and by two ERC awards (T-FORCES 291585, TreeMort 758873). D.G. acknowledges further support from a Newton-funded consortium award (ARBOLES, NE/S011811/1). O.L.P. was supported by an ERC Advanced Grant and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. T.A.M.P. was funded by the ERC award TreeMort 758873. This is paper number 47 of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research. T.R.F., L.E.O.C.A. and O.L.P. were supported by NERC NE/N011570/1. Support for RAINFOR has come from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Urgency Grants and NERC Consortium Grants AMAZONICA (NE/F005806/1), TROBIT (NE/D005590/1) and BIO-RED (NE/N012542/1), a European Research Council (ERC) grant T-FORCES (291585), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (#1656), the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (282664, AMAZALERT) and the Royal Society (CH160091)
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