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  • 1
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: The net primary production of tropical forests and its partitioning between long-lived carbon pools (wood) and shorter-lived pools (leaves, fine roots) are of considerable importance in the global carbon cycle. However, these terms have only been studied at a handful of field sites, and with no consistent calculation methodology. Here we calculate above-ground coarse wood carbon productivity for 104 forest plots in lowland New World humid tropical forests, using a consistent calculation methodology that incorporates corrections for spatial variations in tree-size distributions and wood density, and for census interval length. Mean wood density is found to be lower in more productive forests. We estimate that above-ground coarse wood productivity varies by more than a factor of three (between 1.5 and 5.5 Mg C ha−1 a−1) across the Neotropical plots, with a mean value of 3.1 Mg C ha−1 a−1. There appear to be no obvious relationships between wood productivity and rainfall, dry season length or sunshine, but there is some hint of increased productivity at lower temperatures. There is, however, also strong evidence for a positive relationship between wood productivity and soil fertility. Fertile soils tend to become more common towards the Andes and at slightly higher than average elevations, so the apparent temperature/productivity relationship is probably not a direct one. Coarse wood productivity accounts for only a fraction of overall tropical forest net primary productivity, but the available data indicate that it is approximately proportional to total above-ground productivity. We speculate that the large variation in wood productivity is unlikely to directly imply an equivalent variation in gross primary production. Instead a shifting balance in carbon allocation between respiration, wood carbon and fine root production seems the more likely explanation.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: Uncertainty in biomass estimates is one of the greatest limitations to models of carbon flux in tropical forests. Previous comparisons of field-based estimates of the aboveground biomass (AGB) of trees greater than 10 cm diameter within Amazonia have been limited by the paucity of data for western Amazon forests, and the use of site-specific methods to estimate biomass from inventory data. In addition, the role of regional variation in stand-level wood specific gravity has not previously been considered. Using data from 56 mature forest plots across Amazonia, we consider the relative roles of species composition (wood specific gravity) and forest structure (basal area) in determining variation in AGB.Mean stand-level wood specific gravity, on a per stem basis, is 15.8% higher in forests in central and eastern, compared with northwestern Amazonia. This pattern is due to the higher diversity and abundance of taxa with high specific gravity values in central and eastern Amazonia, and the greater diversity and abundance of taxa with low specific gravity values in western Amazonia. For two estimates of AGB derived using different allometric equations, basal area explains 51.7% and 63.4%, and stand-level specific gravity 45.4% and 29.7%, of the total variation in AGB. The variation in specific gravity is important because it determines the regional scale, spatial pattern of AGB. When weighting by specific gravity is included, central and eastern Amazon forests have significantly higher AGB than stands in northwest or southwest Amazonia. The regional-scale pattern of species composition therefore defines a broad gradient of AGB across Amazonia.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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