Lianas and soil nutrients predict fine-scale distribution of above-ground biomass in a tropical moist forest

Alicia Ledo, Janine B. Illian, Stefan A. Schnitzer, S. Joseph Wright, James W. Dalling, David F.R.P. Burslem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Prediction of carbon dynamics in response to global climate change requires an understanding of the processes that govern the distribution of carbon stocks. Above-ground biomass (AGB) in tropical forests is regulated by variation in soil fertility, climate, species composition and topography at regional scales, but the drivers of fine-scale variation in tropical forest AGB are poorly understood. The factors that control the growth and mortality of individual trees may be obscured by the low resolution of studies at regional scales. In this paper, we evaluated the effects of soil nutrients, topography and liana abundance on the fine-scale spatial distribution of AGB and density of trees for a lowland tropical moist forest in Panama using additive regression models. Areas with larger values of AGB were negatively associated with the presence of lianas, which may reflect competition with lianas and/or the association of lianas with disturbed or open-canopy patches within forests. AGB was positively associated with soils possessing higher pH and K concentrations, reflecting the importance of below-ground resource availability on AGB independently of stem density. Synthesis. Our results shed new light on the factors that influence fine-scale tree AGB and carbon stocks in tropical forests: liana abundance is the strongest predictor, having a negative impact on tree AGB. The availability of soil nutrients was also revealed as an important driver of fine-scale spatial variation in tree AGB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1819-1828
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Ecology
Volume104
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Fingerprint

lianas
aboveground biomass
soil nutrient
soil nutrients
tropical forest
tropical forests
carbon sinks
topography
carbon
distribution
resource availability
Panama
soil fertility
spatial variation
global climate
lowlands
canopy
stem
spatial distribution
climate change

Keywords

  • INLA approach
  • above-ground biomass spatial distribution
  • carbon dynamics
  • carbon stocks
  • liana
  • resource competition
  • soil nutrients
  • spatial statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Lianas and soil nutrients predict fine-scale distribution of above-ground biomass in a tropical moist forest. / Ledo, Alicia; Illian, Janine B.; Schnitzer, Stefan A.; Wright, S. Joseph; Dalling, James W.; Burslem, David F.R.P.

In: Journal of Ecology, Vol. 104, No. 6, 01.11.2016, p. 1819-1828.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ledo, Alicia ; Illian, Janine B. ; Schnitzer, Stefan A. ; Wright, S. Joseph ; Dalling, James W. ; Burslem, David F.R.P. / Lianas and soil nutrients predict fine-scale distribution of above-ground biomass in a tropical moist forest. In: Journal of Ecology. 2016 ; Vol. 104, No. 6. pp. 1819-1828.
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