Solar radiation and functional traits explain the decline of forest primary productivity along a tropical elevation gradient

Fyllas, Nikolaos, Bentley, Lisa Patrick, Shenkin, Alexander, Asner, Gregory P., Atkin, Owen K., Díaz, Sandra, Enquist, Brian J., Farfan-Rios, William, Gloor, Emanuel, Guerrieri, Rossella, Huaraca Huasco, Walter, Ishida, Yoko, Martin, Roberta E., Meir, Patrick, Phillips, Oliver, Salinas, Norma, Silman, Miles, Weerasinghe, Lasantha, Zaragoza-Castells, Joana, and Malhi, Yadvinder (2017) Solar radiation and functional traits explain the decline of forest primary productivity along a tropical elevation gradient. Ecology Letters, 20 (6). pp. 730-740.

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One of the major challenges in ecology is to understand how ecosystems respond to changes in environmental conditions, and how taxonomic and functional diversity mediate these changes. In this study, we use a trait-spectra and individual-based model, to analyse variation in forest primary productivity along a 3.3km elevation gradient in the Amazon-Andes. The model accurately predicted the magnitude and trends in forest productivity with elevation, with solar radiation and plant functional traits (leaf dry mass per area, leaf nitrogen and phosphorus concentration, and wood density) collectively accounting for productivity variation. Remarkably, explicit representation of temperature variation with elevation was not required to achieve accurate predictions of forest productivity, as trait variation driven by species turnover appears to capture the effect of temperature. Our semi-mechanistic model suggests that spatial variation in traits can potentially be used to estimate spatial variation in productivity at the landscape scale.

Item ID: 50599
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1461-0248
Keywords: Andes, climate, functional traits, global ecosystem monitoring, modelling, TFS, tropical forests
Funders: European Research Council (ERC), UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF), European Union Seventh Framework Programme (EU FP7), U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Oxford Martin School, Jackson Foundation, Australian Research Council (ARC), Leverhulme Trust (LT) - UK
Projects and Grants: ERC Advanced Investigator grant GEM-TRAIT (321131), NERC #NE/ J023418/1, NE/J023531/1, NE/F002149/1, EU FP7/2007-2013, NSF DEB-1146206 & DEB 1457804, ARC CE140100008, DP0986823, DP130101252 & FT110100457
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 10:21
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410299 Ecological applications not elsewhere classified @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310806 Plant physiology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960303 Climate Change Models @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960304 Climate Variability (excl. Social Impacts) @ 20%
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