Conservative species drive biomass productivity in tropical dry forests

Jamir A. Prado-Junior*, Ivan Schiavini, Vagner S. Vale, Masha T. van der Sande, Madelon Lohbeck, Lourens Poorter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Forests account for a substantial part of the terrestrial biomass storage and productivity. To better understand forest productivity, we need to disentangle the processes underlying net biomass change. We tested how above-ground net biomass change and its underlying biomass dynamics (biomass recruitment, growth and mortality) can be explained by four alternative and contested hypotheses; the soil fertility, biomass ratio, niche complementarity and vegetation quantity hypotheses. Above-ground biomass dynamics were evaluated over a 5-year period in 200 permanent sample plots in 8 tropical dry forests in Brazil, and related to soil fertility, community-weighted mean (CWM) traits that are important for carbon storage and sequestration (wood density, specific leaf area, maximum stem diameter and deciduousness), species richness, functional diversity and initial stand biomass. Initial stand biomass was the best predictor of all three processes of biomass dynamics, providing strong support for the vegetation quantity hypothesis. In these dry forests, the dominance of conservative species, rather than of acquisitive species, is associated with high biomass growth and storage, probably because their low specific leaf area and high wood density allow them to keep on functioning during drought stress. Paradoxically, high soil fertility (Ca) led to low biomass productivity, probably because of nutrient imbalance. In contrast to what is shown for controlled experiments, we found no support for niche complementarity (in terms of functional diversity or species richness) for forest productivity. Biomass storage was favoured by low- rather than high trait diversity, as most of the biomass is concentrated in species with large stem diameter and high wood density. Synthesis. Biomass dynamics are mainly shaped by vegetation quantity, and then by vegetation quality, in line with the mass ratio hypothesis. Dry forests show different trait-productivity relationships than wet forests, as stands with 'slow' trait values are 'fast' in terms of productivity. Diversity matters, but in a different way than expected; high trait diversity does not enhance productivity, but instead, does low trait diversity enhance carbon storage. Biomass dynamics are mainly shaped by vegetation quantity, and then by vegetation quality, in line with the mass ratio hypothesis. Dry forests show different trait-productivity relationships than wet forests, as stands with 'slow' trait values are 'fast' in terms of productivity. Diversity matters, but in a different way than expected; high trait diversity does not enhance productivity, but instead, does low trait diversity enhance carbon storage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-827
JournalJournal of Ecology
Volume104
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Fingerprint

dry forest
dry forests
tropical forests
tropical forest
productivity
biomass
carbon sequestration
vegetation
wood density
soil fertility
functional diversity
complementarity
leaf area
niche
niches
species richness
stem
species diversity
stems
drought stress

Keywords

  • Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning
  • Biomass ratio hypothesis
  • Carbon stocks and sequestration
  • Community-weighted mean traits
  • Functional diversity
  • Green soup hypothesis
  • Niche complementarity
  • Plant population and community dynamics
  • Soil fertility

Cite this

Prado-Junior, Jamir A. ; Schiavini, Ivan ; Vale, Vagner S. ; van der Sande, Masha T. ; Lohbeck, Madelon ; Poorter, Lourens. / Conservative species drive biomass productivity in tropical dry forests. In: Journal of Ecology. 2016 ; Vol. 104, No. 3. pp. 817-827.
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abstract = "Forests account for a substantial part of the terrestrial biomass storage and productivity. To better understand forest productivity, we need to disentangle the processes underlying net biomass change. We tested how above-ground net biomass change and its underlying biomass dynamics (biomass recruitment, growth and mortality) can be explained by four alternative and contested hypotheses; the soil fertility, biomass ratio, niche complementarity and vegetation quantity hypotheses. Above-ground biomass dynamics were evaluated over a 5-year period in 200 permanent sample plots in 8 tropical dry forests in Brazil, and related to soil fertility, community-weighted mean (CWM) traits that are important for carbon storage and sequestration (wood density, specific leaf area, maximum stem diameter and deciduousness), species richness, functional diversity and initial stand biomass. Initial stand biomass was the best predictor of all three processes of biomass dynamics, providing strong support for the vegetation quantity hypothesis. In these dry forests, the dominance of conservative species, rather than of acquisitive species, is associated with high biomass growth and storage, probably because their low specific leaf area and high wood density allow them to keep on functioning during drought stress. Paradoxically, high soil fertility (Ca) led to low biomass productivity, probably because of nutrient imbalance. In contrast to what is shown for controlled experiments, we found no support for niche complementarity (in terms of functional diversity or species richness) for forest productivity. Biomass storage was favoured by low- rather than high trait diversity, as most of the biomass is concentrated in species with large stem diameter and high wood density. Synthesis. Biomass dynamics are mainly shaped by vegetation quantity, and then by vegetation quality, in line with the mass ratio hypothesis. Dry forests show different trait-productivity relationships than wet forests, as stands with 'slow' trait values are 'fast' in terms of productivity. Diversity matters, but in a different way than expected; high trait diversity does not enhance productivity, but instead, does low trait diversity enhance carbon storage. Biomass dynamics are mainly shaped by vegetation quantity, and then by vegetation quality, in line with the mass ratio hypothesis. Dry forests show different trait-productivity relationships than wet forests, as stands with 'slow' trait values are 'fast' in terms of productivity. Diversity matters, but in a different way than expected; high trait diversity does not enhance productivity, but instead, does low trait diversity enhance carbon storage.",
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Conservative species drive biomass productivity in tropical dry forests. / Prado-Junior, Jamir A.; Schiavini, Ivan; Vale, Vagner S.; van der Sande, Masha T.; Lohbeck, Madelon; Poorter, Lourens.

In: Journal of Ecology, Vol. 104, No. 3, 2016, p. 817-827.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - Conservative species drive biomass productivity in tropical dry forests

AU - Prado-Junior, Jamir A.

AU - Schiavini, Ivan

AU - Vale, Vagner S.

AU - van der Sande, Masha T.

AU - Lohbeck, Madelon

AU - Poorter, Lourens

PY - 2016

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N2 - Forests account for a substantial part of the terrestrial biomass storage and productivity. To better understand forest productivity, we need to disentangle the processes underlying net biomass change. We tested how above-ground net biomass change and its underlying biomass dynamics (biomass recruitment, growth and mortality) can be explained by four alternative and contested hypotheses; the soil fertility, biomass ratio, niche complementarity and vegetation quantity hypotheses. Above-ground biomass dynamics were evaluated over a 5-year period in 200 permanent sample plots in 8 tropical dry forests in Brazil, and related to soil fertility, community-weighted mean (CWM) traits that are important for carbon storage and sequestration (wood density, specific leaf area, maximum stem diameter and deciduousness), species richness, functional diversity and initial stand biomass. Initial stand biomass was the best predictor of all three processes of biomass dynamics, providing strong support for the vegetation quantity hypothesis. In these dry forests, the dominance of conservative species, rather than of acquisitive species, is associated with high biomass growth and storage, probably because their low specific leaf area and high wood density allow them to keep on functioning during drought stress. Paradoxically, high soil fertility (Ca) led to low biomass productivity, probably because of nutrient imbalance. In contrast to what is shown for controlled experiments, we found no support for niche complementarity (in terms of functional diversity or species richness) for forest productivity. Biomass storage was favoured by low- rather than high trait diversity, as most of the biomass is concentrated in species with large stem diameter and high wood density. Synthesis. Biomass dynamics are mainly shaped by vegetation quantity, and then by vegetation quality, in line with the mass ratio hypothesis. Dry forests show different trait-productivity relationships than wet forests, as stands with 'slow' trait values are 'fast' in terms of productivity. Diversity matters, but in a different way than expected; high trait diversity does not enhance productivity, but instead, does low trait diversity enhance carbon storage. Biomass dynamics are mainly shaped by vegetation quantity, and then by vegetation quality, in line with the mass ratio hypothesis. Dry forests show different trait-productivity relationships than wet forests, as stands with 'slow' trait values are 'fast' in terms of productivity. Diversity matters, but in a different way than expected; high trait diversity does not enhance productivity, but instead, does low trait diversity enhance carbon storage.

AB - Forests account for a substantial part of the terrestrial biomass storage and productivity. To better understand forest productivity, we need to disentangle the processes underlying net biomass change. We tested how above-ground net biomass change and its underlying biomass dynamics (biomass recruitment, growth and mortality) can be explained by four alternative and contested hypotheses; the soil fertility, biomass ratio, niche complementarity and vegetation quantity hypotheses. Above-ground biomass dynamics were evaluated over a 5-year period in 200 permanent sample plots in 8 tropical dry forests in Brazil, and related to soil fertility, community-weighted mean (CWM) traits that are important for carbon storage and sequestration (wood density, specific leaf area, maximum stem diameter and deciduousness), species richness, functional diversity and initial stand biomass. Initial stand biomass was the best predictor of all three processes of biomass dynamics, providing strong support for the vegetation quantity hypothesis. In these dry forests, the dominance of conservative species, rather than of acquisitive species, is associated with high biomass growth and storage, probably because their low specific leaf area and high wood density allow them to keep on functioning during drought stress. Paradoxically, high soil fertility (Ca) led to low biomass productivity, probably because of nutrient imbalance. In contrast to what is shown for controlled experiments, we found no support for niche complementarity (in terms of functional diversity or species richness) for forest productivity. Biomass storage was favoured by low- rather than high trait diversity, as most of the biomass is concentrated in species with large stem diameter and high wood density. Synthesis. Biomass dynamics are mainly shaped by vegetation quantity, and then by vegetation quality, in line with the mass ratio hypothesis. Dry forests show different trait-productivity relationships than wet forests, as stands with 'slow' trait values are 'fast' in terms of productivity. Diversity matters, but in a different way than expected; high trait diversity does not enhance productivity, but instead, does low trait diversity enhance carbon storage. Biomass dynamics are mainly shaped by vegetation quantity, and then by vegetation quality, in line with the mass ratio hypothesis. Dry forests show different trait-productivity relationships than wet forests, as stands with 'slow' trait values are 'fast' in terms of productivity. Diversity matters, but in a different way than expected; high trait diversity does not enhance productivity, but instead, does low trait diversity enhance carbon storage.

KW - Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning

KW - Biomass ratio hypothesis

KW - Carbon stocks and sequestration

KW - Community-weighted mean traits

KW - Functional diversity

KW - Green soup hypothesis

KW - Niche complementarity

KW - Plant population and community dynamics

KW - Soil fertility

U2 - 10.1111/1365-2745.12543

DO - 10.1111/1365-2745.12543

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JO - Journal of Ecology

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SN - 0022-0477

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