134 research outputs found

    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

    Increasing dominance of large lianas in Amazonian forests

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    Ecological orthodoxy suggests that old-growth forests should be close to dynamic equilibrium, but this view has been challenged by recent findings that neotropical forests are accumulating carbon and biomass, possibly in response to the increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. However, it is unclear whether the recent increase in tree biomass has been accompanied by a shift in community composition. Such changes could reduce or enhance the carbon storage potential of old-growth forests in the long term. Here we show that non-fragmented Amazon forests are experiencing a concerted increase in the density, basal area and mean size of woody climbing plants (lianas). Over the last two decades of the twentieth century the dominance of large lianas relative to trees has increased by 1.7–4.6% a year. Lianas enhance tree mortality and suppress tree growth, so their rapid increase implies that the tropical terrestrial carbon sink may shut down sooner than current models suggest. Predictions of future tropical carbon fluxes will need to account for the changing composition and dynamics of supposedly undisturbed forests

    Author Correction: Tree mode of death and mortality risk factors across Amazon forests (Nature Communications, (2020), 11, 1, (5515), 10.1038/s41467-020-18996-3)

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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

    Methods to estimate aboveground wood productivity from long-term forest inventory plots

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    Forest inventory plots are widely used to estimate biomass carbon storage and its change over time. While there has been much debate and exploration of the analytical methods for calculating biomass, the methods used to determine rates of wood production have not been evaluated to the same degree. This affects assessment of ecosystem fluxes and may have wider implications if inventory data are used to parameterise biospheric models, or scaled to large areas in assessments of carbon sequestration. Here we use a dataset of 35 long-term Amazonian forest inventory plots to test different methods of calculating wood production rates. These address potential biases associated with three issues that routinely impact the interpretation of tree measurement data: (1) changes in the point of measurement (POM) of stem diameter as trees grow over time; (2) unequal length of time between censuses; and (3) the treatment of trees that pass the minimum diameter threshold (“recruits”). We derive corrections that control for changing POM height, that account for the unobserved growth of trees that die within census intervals, and that explore different assumptions regarding the growth of recruits during the previous census interval. For our dataset we find that annual aboveground coarse wood production (AGWP; in Mg ha−1 year−1 of dry matter) is underestimated on average by 9.2% if corrections are not made to control for changes in POM height. Failure to control for the length of sampling intervals results in a mean underestimation of 2.7% in annual AGWP in our plots for a mean interval length of 3.6 years. Different methods for treating recruits result in mean differences of up to 8.1% in AGWP. In general, the greater the length of time a plot is sampled for and the greater the time elapsed between censuses, the greater the tendency to underestimate wood production. We recommend that POM changes, census interval length, and the contribution of recruits should all be accounted for when estimating productivity rates, and suggest methods for doing this.European UnionUK Natural Environment Research CouncilGordon and Betty Moore FoundationCASE sponsorship from UNEP-WCMCRoyal Society University Research FellowshipERC Advanced Grant “Tropical Forests in the Changing Earth System”Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Awar

    Above- and below-ground net primary productivity across ten Amazonian forests on contrasting soils

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    Copyright © 2009 European Geosciences Union. This is the published version available at http://www.biogeosciences.net/6/2759/2009/bg-6-2759-2009.html © Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.The net primary productivity (NPP) of tropical forests is one of the most important and least quantified components of the global carbon cycle. Most relevant studies have focused particularly on the quantification of the above-ground coarse wood productivity, and little is known about the carbon fluxes involved in other elements of the NPP, the partitioning of total NPP between its above- and below-ground components and the main environmental drivers of these patterns. In this study we quantify the above- and below-ground NPP of ten Amazonian forests to address two questions: (1) How do Amazonian forests allocate productivity among its above- and below-ground components? (2) How do soil and leaf nutrient status and soil texture affect the productivity of Amazonian forests? Using a standardized methodology to measure the major elements of productivity, we show that NPP varies between 9.3±1.3MgC ha−1 yr−1 (mean±standard error), at a white sand plot, and 17.0±1.4MgC ha−1 yr−1 at a very fertile Terra Preta site, with an overall average of 12.8±0.9MgC ha−1 yr−1. The studied forests allocate on average 64±3% and 36±3% of the total NPP to the above and below-ground components, respectively. The ratio of above-ground and below-ground NPP is almost invariant with total NPP. Litterfall and fine root production both increase with total NPP, while stem production shows no overall trend. Total NPP tends to increase with soil phosphorus and leaf nitrogen status. However, allocation of NPP to below-ground shows no relationship to soil fertility, but appears to decrease with the increase of soil clay content

    Tropical forest wood production: a cross-continental comparison

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    1. Tropical forest above-ground wood production (AGWP) varies substantially along environmental gradients. Some evidence suggests that AGWP may vary between regions and specifically that Asian forests have particularly high AGWP. However, comparisons across biogeographic regions using standardized methods are lacking, limiting our assessment of pan-tropical variation in AGWP and potential causes. 2. We sampled AGWP in NW Amazon (17 long-term forest plots) and N Borneo (11 plots), both with abundant year-round precipitation. Within each region, forests growing on a broad range of edaphic conditions were sampled using standardized soil and forest measurement techniques. 3. Plot-level AGWP was 49% greater in Borneo than in Amazonia (9.73 ± 0.56 vs. 6.53 ± 0.34 Mg dry mass ha−1 a−1, respectively; regional mean ± 1 SE). AGWP was positively associated with soil fertility (PCA axes, sum of bases and total P). After controlling for the edaphic environment, AGWP remained significantly higher in Bornean plots. Differences in AGWP were largely attributable to differing height–diameter allometry in the two regions and the abundance of large trees in Borneo. This may be explained, in part, by the greater solar radiation in Borneo compared with NW Amazonia. 4. Trees belonging to the dominant SE Asian family, Dipterocarpaceae, gained woody biomass faster than otherwise equivalent, neighbouring non-dipterocarps, implying that the exceptional production of Bornean forests may be driven by floristic elements. This dominant SE Asian family may partition biomass differently or be more efficient at harvesting resources and in converting them to woody biomass. 5. Synthesis. N Bornean forests have much greater AGWP rates than those in NW Amazon when soil conditions and rainfall are controlled for. Greater resource availability and the highly productive dipterocarps may, in combination, explain why Asian forests produce wood half as fast again as comparable forests in the Amazon. Our results also suggest that taxonomic groups differ in their fundamental ability to capture carbon and that different tropical regions may therefore have different carbon uptake capacities due to biogeographic history

    Understanding different dominance patterns in western Amazonian forests

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    Dominance of neotropical tree communities by a few species is widely documented, but dominant trees show a variety of distributional patterns still poorly understood. Here, we used 503 forest inventory plots (93,719 individuals ≄2.5 cm diameter, 2609 species) to explore the relationships between local abundance, regional frequency and spatial aggregation of dominant species in four main habitat types in western Amazonia. Although the abundance-occupancy relationship is positive for the full dataset, we found that among dominant Amazonian tree species, there is a strong negative relationship between local abundance and regional frequency and/or spatial aggregation across habitat types. Our findings suggest an ecological trade-off whereby dominant species can be locally abundant (local dominants) or regionally widespread (widespread dominants), but rarely both (oligarchs). Given the importance of dominant species as drivers of diversity and ecosystem functioning, unravelling different dominance patterns is a research priority to direct conservation efforts in Amazonian forests.Publisher PDFPeer reviewe