Late twentieth-century patterns and trends in Amazon tree turnover

Oliver L. Phillips, Timothy R. Baker, Luzmila Arroyo, Niro Higuchi, Timothy Killeen, William F. Laurance, Simon L. Lewis, Jon Lloyd, Yadvinder Malhi, Abel Monteagudo, David A. Neill, Percy Nuñez Vargas, J. Natalino N. Silva, Rodolfo Vásquez Martinez, Miguel Alexiades, Samuel Almeida, Sandra Brown, Jerome Chave, James A. Comiskey, Claudia I. Czimczik, Anthony Di Fiore, Terry Erwin, Caroline Kuebler, Susan G. Laurance, Henrique E. M. Nascimento, Jean Olivier, Walter Palacios, Sandra Patiño, Nigel Pitman, Carlos A. Quesada, Mario Saldias, Armando Torres Lezama and Barbara Vinceti

in Tropical Forests and Global Atmospheric Change

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780198567066
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780191717888 | DOI:
 Late twentieth-century patterns and trends in Amazon tree turnover

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Previous work found that tree turnover, biomass, and large liana densities increased in mature tropical forests in the late 20th century, indicating a concerted shift in forest ecological processes. However, the findings have proved controversial. Here, regional-scale patterns of tree turnover are characterized, using improved datasets available for Amazonia that span the last twenty-five years. The main findings include: trees at least 10 cm in diameter recruit and die twice as fast on the richer soils of western Amazonia compared to trees on the poorer soils of eastern Amazonia; turnover rates have increased throughout Amazonia over the last two decades; mortality and recruitment rates have tended to increase in every region and environmental zone; recruitment rates consistently exceed mortality rates; and increases in recruitment and mortality rates are greatest in western Amazonia. These patterns and trends are not caused by obvious artefacts in the data or the analyses, and cannot be directly driven by a mortality driver such as increased drought because the biomass in these forests has simultaneously increased. Apparently, therefore, widespread environmental changes are stimulating the growth and productivity of Amazon forests.

Keywords: Amazon forests; biomass; forest plots; tree turnover; tree growth; mortality; forest dynamics; tropical rainforests; global change

Chapter.  8067 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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