Climate seasonality limits leaf carbon assimilation and wood productivity in tropical forests

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  • The seasonal climate drivers of the carbon cycle in tropical forests remain poorly known, although these forests account for more carbon assimilation and storage than any other terrestrial ecosystem. Based on a unique combination of seasonal pan-tropical data sets from 89 experimental sites (68 include aboveground wood productivity measurements and 35 litter productivity measurements), their associated canopy photosynthetic capacity (enhanced vegetation index, EVI) and climate, we ask how carbon assimilation and aboveground allocation are related to climate seasonality in tropical forests and how they interact in the seasonal carbon cycle. We found that canopy photosynthetic capacity seasonality responds positively to precipitation when rainfall is  < 2000 mm yr⁻¹ (water-limited forests) and to radiation otherwise (light-limited forests). On the other hand, independent of climate limitations, wood productivity and litterfall are driven by seasonal variation in precipitation and evapotranspiration, respectively. Consequently, light-limited forests present an asynchronism between canopy photosynthetic capacity and wood productivity. First-order control by precipitation likely indicates a decrease in tropical forest productivity in a drier climate in water-limited forest, and in current light-limited forest with future rainfall  < 2000 mm yr⁻¹.
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  • Wagner, F. H., Anderson, L. O., Baker, T. R., Bowman, D. M., Cardoso, F. C., Chidumayo, E. N., ... & Aragão, L. E. O. C. (2016). Climate seasonality limits leaf carbon assimilation and wood productivity in tropical forests. Biogeosciences, 13(8), 2537-2562. doi:10.5194/bg-13-2537-2016
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  • 13
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  • 8
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  • This project and F. H. W. have been funded by the Fapesp (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, processo 13/14520-6). L. E. O. C. A. thank the support of FAPESP (grant 50533-5) and CNPQ (grant 304425/2013-3). J. P. L. and M. M. T. were funded by the CNPq and the FAPEMIG. B. P. M. was funded by the Australian Research Council for the project “Understanding the impact of global environmental change on Australian forests and woodlands using rainforest boundaries and Callitris growth as bio-indicators”, grant number: DP0878177. A. B. was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for the project BR1895/15 and the projects BR1895/14 and BR1895/23 (PAK 823). F. A. C. and J. M. F. were funded by the CNPq (grant 476477/2006-9) and the Fundação O Boticário de Proteção a Natureza (grant 0705-2006). F. R. C. C. was funded by the CNPq/PELD “Impactos antrópicos no ecossistema de floresta tropical – site Manaus”, Processo 403764/2012-2. J. G. was supported from the US Forest Service-International Institute of Tropical Forestry. A. D. G. funding was provided through ARC Linkage (Timber harvest management for the Aboriginal arts industry: socio-economic, cultural and ecological determinants of sustainability in a remote community context, LP0219425). S. F. O. was funded by the National Science Foundation BE/CBC: Complex interactions among water, nutrients and carbon stocks and fluxes across a natural fertility gradient in tropical rain forest (EAR 421178) and National Science Foundation Causes and implications of dry season control of tropical wet forest tree growth at very high water levels: direct vs. indirect limitations (DEB 842235). E. E. M. was funded by the Academy of Finland (project: 266393). L. M. was funded by a grant provided by the European Union (FP6, INCO/SSA) for a 2 year (2006–2008) project on management of indigenous tree species for restoration and wood production in semi-arid miombo woodlands in East Africa (MITMIOMBO). F. V. was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) by funding the projects BR 1895/14-1/2 (FOR 816) and BR 1895/23-1/2 (PAK 823). L. K. K. was supported by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. D. M. D. was funded by the Hermon Slade Foundation (Grant HSF 09/5). Data recorded at Paracou, French Guiana, were partly funded by an “Investissement d’Avenir” grant from the ANR (CEBA: ANR-10-LABX-0025). H. A. M. and J. J. C. thank the staff of the Jardín Botânico “Juan María Céspedes” (INCIVA, Colombia) and the Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal (IBIF, Bolivia) for their support, particularly to M. Toledo and W. Devia; and P. Roosenboom (INPA Co.) and his staff at Concepción (G. Urbano) for their help in Bolivia. H. A. M. and J. J. C. were funded by the following research projects “Análisis retrospectivos mediante dendrocronología para profundizar en la ecología y mejorar la gestión de los bosques tropicales secos” (financed by Fundación BBVA) and “Regeneración, crecimiento y modelos dinámicos de bosques tropicales secos: herramientas para su conservación y para el uso sostenible de especies maderables” (AECID 11-CAP2-1730, Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs). C. S. L. was funded by a grant from FAPESP (Proc. 02/ 14166-3), and Brazilian Council for Superior Education, CAPES. J. H. was funded by two grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG): BR379/16 and HO3296/4. D. A. C. was funded by the US National Science Foundation (most recently EAR0421178 & DEB-1357112), the US Department of Energy, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Conservation International’s TEAM Initiative. C. S. was funded by a grant from the “European Research 991 Council Synergy”, grant ERC-2013-SyG-610028 IMBALANCE-P. M. R. K., J. E. F. M., T. L. S. and F. G. were funded by Petrobras SA. We further thank Jeanine Maria Felfili and Raimundo dos Santos Saraiva who contributed to this work but who are no longer with us.
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