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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)
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 Here we draw from a large number of published and unpublished datasets (n = 81 sites) to assess the determinants of litterfall variation across South Ameri-can tropical forests.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)
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)
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)
The vast extent of the Amazon Basin has historically restricted the study of its tree communities to the local and regional scales. Here, we provide empirical data on the commonness, rarity, and richness of lowland tree species across the entire Amazon Basin and Guiana Shield (Amazonia), collected in 1170 tree plots in all major forest types. Extrapolations(More)
The rapid disruption of tropical forests probably imperils global biodiversity more than any other contemporary phenomenon. With deforestation advancing quickly, protected areas are increasingly becoming final refuges for threatened species and natural ecosystem processes. However, many protected areas in the tropics are themselves vulnerable to human(More)