The variation of productivity and its allocation along a tropical elevation gradient: a whole carbon budget perspective

Malhi, Yadvinder, Girardin, Cecile A.J., Goldsmith, Gregory R., Doughty, Christopher E., Salinas, Norma, Metcalfe, Daniel, Huaraca Huasco, Walter, Silva-Espejo, Javier E., del Aguilla-Pasquell, Jhon, Farfán Amézquita, Filio, Aragão, Luiz E.O.C., Guerrieri, Rossella, Ishida, Francoise Yoko, Bahar, Nur H.A., Farfan-Rios, William, Phillips, Oliver L., Meir, Patrick, and Silman, Miles (2017) The variation of productivity and its allocation along a tropical elevation gradient: a whole carbon budget perspective. New Phytologist, 214 (3). pp. 1019-1032.

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Why do forest productivity and biomass decline with elevation? To address this question, research to date generally has focused on correlative approaches describing changes in woody growth and biomass with elevation.

We present a novel, mechanistic approach to this question by quantifying the autotrophic carbon budget in 16 forest plots along a 3300m elevation transect in Peru.

Low growth rates at high elevations appear primarily driven by low gross primary productivity (GPP), with little shift in either carbon use efficiency (CUE) or allocation of net primary productivity (NPP) between wood, fine roots and canopy. The lack of trend in CUE implies that the proportion of photosynthate allocated to autotrophic respiration is not sensitive to temperature. Rather than a gradual linear decline in productivity, there is some limited but non-conclusive evidence of a sharp transition in NPP between submontane and montane forests, which may be caused by cloud immersion effects within the cloud forest zone. Leaf-level photosynthetic parameters do not decline with elevation, implying that nutrient limitation does not restrict photosynthesis at high elevations.

Our data demonstrate the potential of whole carbon budget perspectives to provide a deeper understanding of controls on ecosystem functioning and carbon cycling.

Item ID: 50600
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-8137
Keywords: climate, cloud forest, Global Ecosystems Monitoring network (GEM), photosynthesis, physiology, RAINFOR, temperature
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF), European Research Council (ERC), European Union (EU), Jackson Foundation
Projects and Grants: NERC NE/D01168X/1, NERC NE/D014174/1, ERC Advanced Investigator Awards GEM-TRAIT (321131), ERC T-FORCES no. 291585, EU Seventh Framework Programme AMAZALERT project 282664, EU Seventh Framework Programme GEOCARBON project 283080, EU Seventh Framework Program FP7/2007-2013
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 10:21
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4105 Pollution and contamination > 410501 Environmental biogeochemistry @ 25%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410101 Carbon sequestration science @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310806 Plant physiology @ 35%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960303 Climate Change Models @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960304 Climate Variability (excl. Social Impacts) @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 30%
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