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Tropical forests hold large stores of carbon, yet uncertainty remains regarding their quantitative contribution to the global carbon cycle. One approach to quantifying carbon biomass stores consists in inferring changes from long-term forest inventory plots. Regression models are used to convert inventory data into an estimate of aboveground biomass (AGB).(More)
Wood performs several essential functions in plants, including mechanically supporting aboveground tissue, storing water and other resources, and transporting sap. Woody tissues are likely to face physiological, structural and defensive trade-offs. How a plant optimizes among these competing functions can have major ecological implications, which have been(More)
Plant traits – the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants and their organs – determine how primary producers respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, influence ecosystem processes and services and provide a link from species richness to ecosystem functional diversity. Trait data(More)
The world's greatest terrestrial stores of biodiversity and carbon are found in the forests of northern South America, where large-scale biogeographic patterns and processes have recently begun to be described. Seven of the nine countries with territory in the Amazon basin and the Guiana shield have carried out large-scale forest inventories, but such(More)
Tropical tree height-diameter (H:D) relationships may vary by forest type and region making large-scale estimates of above-ground biomass subject to bias if they ignore these differences in stem allometry. We have therefore developed a new global tropical forest database consisting of 39 955 concurrent H and D measurements encompassing 283 sites in 22(More)
The high alpha-diversity of tropical forests has been amply documented, but beta-diversity-how species composition changes with distance-has seldom been studied. We present quantitative estimates of beta-diversity for tropical trees by comparing species composition of plots in lowland terra firme forest in Panama, Ecuador, and Peru. We compare observations(More)
Abstract: Mechanisms proposed to explain the maintenance of species diversity within ecological communities of sessile organisms include niche differentiation mediated by competitive trade-offs, frequency dependence resulting from species-specific pests, recruitment limitation due to local dispersal, and a speciation-extinction dynamic equilibrium mediated(More)
The above-ground biomass (AGB) of tropical forests is a crucial variable for ecologists, biogeochemists, foresters and policymakers. Tree inventories are an efficient way of assessing forest carbon stocks and emissions to the atmosphere during deforestation. To make correct inferences about long-term changes in biomass stocks, it is essential to know the(More)
The production of aboveground soft tissue represents an important share of total net primary production in tropical rain forests. Here we draw from a large number of published and unpublished datasets (n = 81 sites) to assess the determinants of litterfall variation across South Ameri-can tropical forests. We show that across old-growth tropical(More)
Amazon forests are a key but poorly understood component of the global carbon cycle. If, as anticipated, they dry this century, they might accelerate climate change through carbon losses and changed surface energy balances. We used records from multiple long-term monitoring plots across Amazonia to assess forest responses to the intense 2005 drought, a(More)