The Response of Tropical Rainforest Dead Wood Respiration to Seasonal Drought

L. Rowland*, C. Stahl, D. Bonal, L. Siebicke, M. Williams, P. Meir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Coarse woody debris (CWD, dead wood sections ≥10 cm diameter) represents a large store of carbon in tropical forests; however, estimates of the flux of carbon from CWD in these forests remain poorly constrained. The objective of this study was to resolve the dry/wet season response of respiration in CWD (R cwd), and investigate the importance of biotic and abiotic factors for predicting the seasonal change of R cwd at the ecosystem level. This study presents a 4-month time series of R cwd measurements conducted on 42 dead trees (26 species) at the Paracou Research Station in French Guiana. R cwd measurements were repeated 13 times on each CWD sample from July to November 2011, spanning the transition from wet to dry season, and then from dry season to the following wet season. Seasonal drought caused monthly R cwd to drop by 20.5 ± 5.1% over the wet–dry transition. Changes in woody tissue moisture content explained 41.9% of the measured seasonal variability in R cwd, but 60% of the seasonal variability in mean forest R cwd rates could be modelled using surface soil water content. We estimate that R cwd is approximately 5% of annual ecosystem respiration (R eco) and that seasonal variations in R cwd contribute appreciably to seasonal variations of R eco, and should be included in functional models simulating the response of tropical rainforest ecosystems to current and future climate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1294-1309
Number of pages16
JournalEcosystems
Volume16
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Keywords

  • coarse woody debris
  • respiration
  • seasonal drought
  • soil water content
  • Amazon rainforest
  • woody moisture content
  • NET ECOSYSTEM EXCHANGE
  • DECOMPOSITION RATES
  • CENTRAL AMAZON
  • VEGETATION DYNAMICS
  • CLIMATE-CHANGE
  • FRENCH-GUIANA
  • DECAY-RATES
  • CO2 EFFLUX
  • CARBON
  • DEBRIS

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