1 Section for Global Development, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences3 Daemeter Consulting, Bogor4 Barnard College of Columbia University5 Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA)6 Universidade Federal do Acre7 Philadelphia Zoo8 CIRAD, Embrapa-Belém9 Wageningen University and Research Centre10 Tropical Ecology Assessment Monitoring (TEAM) Network11 Duke University12 Zoological Society of London13 Universite Libre de Bruxelles14 State Forestry Administration15 Université de Liége16 Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi17 WWF Verdensnaturfonden18 The University of Amsterdam19 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh20 Wildlife Conservation Society, Kabale21 Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)22 University of Oxford23 Universiti Sains Malaysia24 Udzungwa Mountains National Park25 Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI)26 Universidad Autónoma Gabriel Rene Moreno27 Kyoto University28 Sabah Forestry Department29 Universitas Bangka Belitung30 Universitas Sumatera Utara31 Universitat Zürich32 Universidad de los Andes33 Bureau Waardenburg bv, Culemborg34 Museo delle Scienze, Trento35 Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)36 Southern Cross University37 Universidad de San Abad del Cusco38 Naturalis Biodiversity Center39 Missouri Botanical Garden40 Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana41 Kagoshima University42 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee43 Universidad Autonoma de Beni44 Liverpool John Moores University45 Conservation and Natural Resources Management, Bad Aussee46 The State Forestry Administration, Chinese Academy of Forestry47 Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences48 University of Zurich49 Universidade Federal do Acre50 Universite Libre de Bruxelles51 Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi52 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh53 Kyoto University54 Southern Cross University55 Missouri Botanical Garden56 Section for Global Development, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet57 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee58 University of Zurich
Aim Large trees (d.b.h. ≥ 70 cm) store large amounts of biomass. Several studies suggest that large trees may be vulnerable to changing climate, potentially leading to declining forest biomass storage. Here we determine the importance of large trees for tropical forest biomass storage and explore which intrinsic (species trait) and extrinsic (environment) variables are associated with the density of large trees and forest biomass at continental and pan-tropical scales. Location Pan-tropical. Methods Aboveground biomass (AGB) was calculated for 120 intact lowland moist forest locations. Linear regression was used to calculate variation in AGB explained by the density of large trees. Akaike information criterion weights (AICc-wi) were used to calculate averaged correlation coefficients for all possible multiple regression models between AGB/density of large trees and environmental and species trait variables correcting for spatial autocorrelation. Results Density of large trees explained c. 70% of the variation in pan-tropical AGB and was also responsible for significantly lower AGB in Neotropical [287.8 (mean) ± 105.0 (SD) Mg ha−1] versus Palaeotropical forests (Africa 418.3 ± 91.8 Mg ha−1; Asia 393.3 ± 109.3 Mg ha−1). Pan-tropical variation in density of large trees and AGB was associated with soil coarseness (negative), soil fertility (positive), community wood density (positive) and dominance of wind dispersed species (positive), temperature in the coldest month (negative), temperature in the warmest month (negative) and rainfall in the wettest month (positive), but results were not always consistent among continents. Main conclusions Density of large trees and AGB were significantly associated with climatic variables, indicating that climate change will affect tropical forest biomass storage. Species trait composition will interact with these future biomass changes as they are also affected by a warmer climate. Given the importance of large trees for variation in AGB across the tropics, and their sensitivity to climate change, we emphasize the need for in-depth analyses of the community dynamics of large trees.
Global Ecology and Biogeography, 2013, Vol 22, Issue 12, p. 1261-1271