Shifting dynamics of climate-functional groups in old-growth Amazonian forests

Butt, Nathalie, Malhi, Yadvinder, New, Mark, Macia, Manuel J., Lewis, Simon L., Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela, Laurance, William F., Laurance, Susan, Luizao, Regina, Andrade, Ana, Baker, Timothy R., Almeida, Samuel and Phillips, Oliver L. (2014) Shifting dynamics of climate-functional groups in old-growth Amazonian forests. Plant Ecology and Diversity, 7 1-2: 267-279. doi:10.1080/17550874.2012.715210

Author Butt, Nathalie
Malhi, Yadvinder
New, Mark
Macia, Manuel J.
Lewis, Simon L.
Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela
Laurance, William F.
Laurance, Susan
Luizao, Regina
Andrade, Ana
Baker, Timothy R.
Almeida, Samuel
Phillips, Oliver L.
Title Shifting dynamics of climate-functional groups in old-growth Amazonian forests
Journal name Plant Ecology and Diversity   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1755-0874
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/17550874.2012.715210
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 7
Issue 1-2
Start page 267
End page 279
Total pages 13
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Climate change is driving ecosystem shifts, which has implications for tropical forest system function and productivity.
Aim: To investigate Amazon forest dynamics and test for compositional changes between 1985 and 2005 across different plant groups.
Methods: Tree census data from 46 long-term RAINFOR forest plots in Amazonia for three climate-functional groups were used: dry-affiliate, climate-generalist and wet affiliate. Membership of each group was ascribed at genus level from the distribution of individuals across a wet-dry gradient in Amazonia, and then used to determine whether the proportions of these functional groups have changed over time, and the direction of any change.
Results: In total, 91 genera, representing 59% of the stems and 18% of genera in the plots, were analysed. Wet-affiliates tended to move from a state of net basal area gain towards dynamic equilibrium, defined as where gain ≈ loss, governed by an increase in loss rather than a decrease in growth and mainly driven by plots in north-west Amazonia, the wettest part of the region. Dry-affiliates remained in a state of strong net basal area gain across western Amazonia and showed a strong increase in stem recruitment. Wet-affiliates and climate-generalists showed increases in stem mortality, and climate-generalists showed increased stem recruitment, resulting in overall equilibrium of stem numbers.
Conclusions: While there were no significant shifts in most genera, the results suggest an overall shift in climate-functional forest composition in western Amazonia away from wet-affiliates, and potential for increased forest persistence under projected drier conditions in the future.
Keyword Climate trends
Forest composition
Moisture affiliation
Moisture seasonality
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 2 October 2012

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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