Tropical forest wood production: a cross-continental comparison

Banin, Lindsay, Lewis, Simon L., López-gonzález, Gabriela, Baker, Timothy R., Quesada, Carlos A., Chao, Kuo-Jung, Burslem, David F.R.P., Nilus, Reuben, Abu Salim, Kamariah, Keeling, Helen C., Tan, Sylvester, Davies, Stuart J., Mendoza, Abel Monteagudo, Vasquez, Rodolfo, Lloyd, Jon, Neill, David A., Pitman, Nigel, and Phillips, Oliver L. (2014) Tropical forest wood production: a cross-continental comparison. Journal of Ecology, 102 (4). pp. 1025-1037.

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Abstract

Summary: 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. North Bornean forests have much greater AGWP rates than those in north-western Amazon when soil conditions and rainfall are controlled for. Greater resource availability and the highly productive dipterocarps may, in combination, explain why these 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.

Item ID: 50893
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0022-0477
Keywords: Amazon; Asia; carbon; dipterocarpaceae; dynamics; growth; plant-soil interactions; productivity; soil nutrients; tropical forest
Funders: National Environmental Research Council (NERC), Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF), Royal Geographical Society - Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG), Royal Society (RS), European Research Council (ERC)
Projects and Grants: RGS-IBG Henrietta Hutton Grant, RS Dudley Stamp Award, RS University Research Fellowship, ERC Advanced Grant, RS Wofson Research Merit Award
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2017 06:03
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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