Effect of 7 yr of experimental drought on vegetation dynamics and biomass storage of an eastern Amazonian rainforest

Antonio Carlos Lola da Costa, David Galbraith, Samuel Almeida, Bruno Takeshi Tanaka Portela, Mauricio da Costa, Joao de Athaydes Silva Junior, Alan P. Braga, Paulo H. L. de Goncalves, Alex A. R. de Oliveira, Rosie Fisher, Oliver L. Phillips, Daniel B. Metcalfe, Peter Levy, Patrick Meir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

At least one climate model predicts severe reductions of rainfall over Amazonia during this century. Long-term throughfall exclusion (TFE) experiments represent the best available means to investigate the resilience of the Amazon rainforest to such droughts.

Results are presented from a 7 yr TFE study at Caxiuana National Forest, eastern Amazonia. We focus on the impacts of the drought on tree mortality, wood production and above-ground biomass.

Tree mortality in the TFE plot over the experimental period was 2.5% yr-1, compared with 1.25% yr-1 in a nearby control plot experiencing normal rainfall. Differences in stem mortality between plots were greatest in the largest (> 40 cm diameter at breast height (dbh)) size class (4.1% yr-1 in the TFE and 1.4% yr-1 in the control). Wood production in the TFE plot was c. 30% lower than in the control plot. Together, these changes resulted in a loss of 37.8 +/- 2.0 Mg carbon (C) ha-1 in the TFE plot (2002-2008), compared with no change in the control.

These results are remarkably consistent with those from another TFE (at Tapajos National Forest), suggesting that eastern Amazonian forests may respond to prolonged drought in a predictable manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-591
Number of pages13
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume187
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jun 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010

Keywords

  • Amazon rainforest
  • biomass
  • drought
  • tree mortality
  • wood production
  • ABOVEGROUND LIVE BIOMASS
  • EL-NINO DROUGHT
  • TROPICAL FORESTS
  • TREE MORTALITY
  • WOOD DENSITY
  • BRAZILIAN AMAZONIA
  • POSITIVE FEEDBACKS
  • WATER STATUS
  • CARBON
  • CLIMATE

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