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Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

Kitajima K.,University of Florida | Kitajima K.,Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute | Poorter L.,Wageningen University | Poorter L.,Instituto Boliviano Of Investigacion Forestal
New Phytologist | Year: 2010

•Leaf toughness is thought to enhance physical defense and leaf lifespan. Here, we evaluated the relative importance of tissue-level leaf traits vs lamina thickness, as well as their ontogenetic changes, for structure-level leaf toughness and regeneration ecology of 19 tropical tree species.•We measured the fracture toughness of the laminas and veins of sapling leaves with shearing tests, and used principal component analysis and structural equation modeling to evaluate the multivariate relationships among traits that contribute to leaf toughness and their links to ecological performance traits.•Tissue traits (density and fracture toughness of lamina and vein) were correlated positively with each other, but independent of lamina thickness. The tissue traits and lamina thickness contributed additively to the structure-level toughness (leaf mass per area and work-to-shear). Species with dense and tough leaves as saplings also had dense and tough leaves as seedlings and adults. The patterns of ontogenetic change in trait values differed between the seedling-to-sapling and sapling-to-adult transitions.•The fracture toughness and tissue density of laminas and veins, but not the lamina thickness, were correlated positively with leaf lifespan and sapling survival, and negatively with herbivory rate and sapling regeneration light requirements, indicating the importance of tissue-level leaf traits. © The Authors (2010). Journal compilation © New Phytologist Trust (2010).


Veldman J.W.,Instituto Boliviano Of Investigacion Forestal | Putz F.E.,University of Florida
Biotropica | Year: 2010

Predicting responses of vegetation to environmental factors in human-altered tropical ecosystems requires an understanding of the controls on plant population expansion across landscapes (i.e., long-distance dispersal) as well as of factors affecting recruitment at local scales (i.e., microsite conditions). We studied the roles of light availability, habitat type, soil disturbance, and seed dispersal in a selectively logged forest in lowland Bolivia where the exotic forage grass Urochloa (Panicum) maxima is abundant on roads and log landings but does not invade felling gaps or unlogged forest. Shade-house trials and seed addition experiments with U. maxima revealed that this C4 grass thrives in high light but also grows in partial shade (10% full sun, but not 1% full sun), and that felling gaps, but not undisturbed forest, are suitable for grass establishment. To determine if seed dispersal by logging vehicles explains the discrepancy between actual and potential grass recruitment sites, we collected grass seeds that fell from trucks onto log landings located long distances (>500m) from established grass populations. Trucks dispersed an estimated 1800 alien grass seeds per log landing during the early dry season; automobiles also transported seeds of grass (135 seeds/vehicle). The seeds collected (and relative abundances) were the exotics U. (Panicum) maxima (97%) and Urochloa (Brachiaria) brizantha (2%), and the pan-tropical weeds Sorghum halapense (1%) and Rottboellia cochinchinensis (0.2%). Grasses invade this forest where disturbance coincides with seed dispersal by motor vehicles, while dispersal limitation apparently prevents invasion of many sites otherwise suitable for grass recruitment (i.e., felling and natural gaps). © 2010 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2010 by The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.


Van Der Sleen P.,Wageningen University | Van Der Sleen P.,Instituto Boliviano Of Investigacion Forestal | Groenendijk P.,Wageningen University | Vlam M.,Wageningen University | And 9 more authors.
Nature Geoscience | Year: 2014

The biomass of undisturbed tropical forests has likely increased in the past few decades, probably as a result of accelerated tree growth. Higher CO2 levels are expected to raise plant photosynthetic rates and enhance water-use efficiency, that is, the ratio of carbon assimilation through photosynthesis to water loss through transpiration. However, there is no evidence that these physiological responses do indeed stimulate tree growth in tropical forests. Here we present measurements of stable carbon isotopes and growth rings in the wood of 1,100 trees from Bolivia, Cameroon and Thailand. Measurements of carbon isotope fractions in the wood indicate that intrinsic water-use efficiency in both understorey and canopy trees increased by 30-35% over the past 150 years as atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased. However, we found no evidence for the suggested concurrent acceleration of individual tree growth when analysing the width of growth rings. We conclude that the widespread assumption of a CO2-induced stimulation of tropical tree growth may not be valid. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


To determine the annual periodicity of growth rings in seven tree species from a tropical moist forest in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, a fire scar was used as a marker point to verify the annual nature of tree rings. The number of tree rings formed between the 1995 fire scar and the collection of the cross sections in 2002 was visually identified. The seven species showed annual growth rings. In most cases, boundaries between rings were marked by the presence of marginal parenchyma and wall-thicked fibers formed at the end of the growing season. Growth lenses and false rings were recorded in some species. Tree rings can be carefully used in Santa Cruz forests to determine rates of growth. This information is crucial for defining forest management practices in tropical regions.


Austin A.T.,University of Buenos Aires | Bustamante M.M.C.,University of Brasilia | Nardoto G.B.,University of Brasilia | Mitre S.K.,University of Brasilia | And 8 more authors.
Science | Year: 2013

Human impacts on the N cycle require sustainable ecological solutions to preserve ecosystem and human health.

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