Fast demographic traits promote high diversification rates of Amazonian trees

Timothy R Baker, R Toby Pennington, Susana Magallon, Emanuel Gloor, William F Laurance, Miguel Alexiades, Esteban Alvarez, Alejandro Araujo, Eric J M M Arets, Gerardo Aymard, Atila Alves de Oliveira, Iêda Amaral, Luzmila Arroyo, Damien Bonal, Roel J W Brienen, Jerome Chave, Kyle G Dexter, Anthony Di Fiore, Eduardo Eler, Ted R FeldpauschLeandro Ferreira, Gabriela Lopez-Gonzalez, Geertje van der Heijden, Niro Higuchi, Eurídice Honorio, Isau Huamantupa, Tim J Killeen, Susan Laurance, Claudio Leaño, Simon L Lewis, Yadvinder Malhi, Beatriz Schwantes Marimon, Ben Hur Marimon Junior, Abel Monteagudo Mendoza, David Neill, Maria Cristina Peñuela-Mora, Nigel Pitman, Adriana Prieto, Carlos A Quesada, Fredy Ramírez, Hirma Ramírez Angulo, Agustin Rudas, Ademir R Ruschel, Rafael P Salomão, Ana Segalin de Andrade, J Natalino M Silva, Marcos Silveira, Marcelo F Simon, Wilson Spironello, Hans ter Steege, John Terborgh, Marisol Toledo, Armando Torres-Lezama, Rodolfo Vasquez, Ima Célia Guimarães Vieira, Emilio Vilanova, Vincent A Vos, Oliver L Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Amazon rain forest sustains the world's highest tree diversity, but it remains unclear why some clades of trees are hyperdiverse, whereas others are not. Using dated phylogenies, estimates of current species richness and trait and demographic data from a large network of forest plots, we show that fast demographic traits - short turnover times - are associated with high diversification rates across 51 clades of canopy trees. This relationship is robust to assuming that diversification rates are either constant or decline over time, and occurs in a wide range of Neotropical tree lineages. This finding reveals the crucial role of intrinsic, ecological variation among clades for understanding the origin of the remarkable diversity of Amazonian trees and forests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-536
Number of pages10
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number5
Early online date3 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


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