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Pereira R.,Northumbria University | Bovolo C.I.,Northumbria University | Bovolo C.I.,Iwokrama International Center for Rainforest Conservation and Development | Forsythe N.,Northumbria University | And 3 more authors.
Journal of South American Earth Sciences | Year: 2014

We use first field-based observations of precipitation and river isotopic chemistry from a three-year study (2009-2011) in rainforest and nearby savannah in central Guyana at the northern rim of the Amazon rainforest to establish the quality of modelled or remotely-sensed datasets. Our 3 years of data capture a reduced rainfall regime in 2009 and an extended wet season in 2010, in contrast to the widely documented Amazonian floods in 2009 and droughts in 2010. Comparisons of observed precipitation with satellite derived TRMM and ECMWF ERA-Interim reanalysis precipitation show that both of these data sets capture the general pattern of seasonality, but substantially underestimate rainfall amounts in the primary wet season (by up to 50% and 72% respectively). The TRMM dataset is generally better at characterising the main dry season from September to December but the ERA-Interim model can overestimate precipitation in the dry season by up to 175%. Our new data on isotopic chemistry of river waters show that δ2H/δ18O values in this region are broadly consistent with interpolated global datasets of modelled precipitation isotopic signatures. The dominance of isotopically lighter water derived from the rains of the ITCZ during the wet season provides evidence of the close coupling of water chemistry of headwater rivers on the northern rim of Amazonia to the positioning of the ITCZ over the region. Our results highlight the challenge in understanding and representing local scale hydrological and biogeochemical characteristics using regional scale model data. We argue that combining point and local scale field data with larger scale model data is necessary to progress towards a comprehensive understanding of climate-hydrology interactions in Amazonia. © 2014. Source

Bicknell J.E.,University of Kent | Bicknell J.E.,Iwokrama International Center for Rainforest Conservation and Development | Phelps S.P.,University of East Anglia | Davies R.G.,University of East Anglia | And 3 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2014

Dung beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) are sensitive to habitat perturbations and are easily studied, making them an ideal taxonomic group with which to evaluate the effects of low-intensity anthropogenic disturbances such as Reduced-Impact Logging. Here we examine the effect of a certified Reduced-Impact Logging operation on dung beetles, and demonstrate their suitability for use in rapid ecological impact studies. We sampled dung beetle assemblages, environmental variables and timber extraction rates across four treatment groups in closed canopy and canopy gaps in logged and unlogged forest in Guyana. Community analysis revealed that logged forest supported a more uniform dung beetle assemblage compared to unlogged forest. Differences in assemblage structure were driven by dissimilarity between closed canopy treatments, as plots in artificial and natural canopy gaps supported comparable assemblages. Indicator analyses were conducted across treatments, using a new approach (CLAM) and two well-established methods (IndVal, SIMPER). Two species respectively were classified as indicators of logged (Hansreia affinis and Eurysternus caribaeus) and unlogged forest (Canthidium aff. centrale and Deltochilum (Calhyboma) carinatum). BIO-ENV analysis demonstrated that tree extraction intensity, bare ground cover, and ground cover by leaf material were key factors influencing dung beetle assemblages. Despite the relatively low-impact of Reduced-Impact Logging reported by previous studies, we find that dung beetles are sensitive to even small changes in environmental conditions as a result of this form of anthropogenic disturbance. As dung beetles are a highly responsive taxonomic group, we illustrate that they represent a valuable taxon that can be used to critically evaluate best practice forestry operations and other disturbance activities, particularly in time constrained studies (e.g., rapid monitoring and environmental impact assessments). However, we recommend the use of multiple indicator analyses to monitor potential changes in assemblage composition, due to a lack of congruence between methods. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Pereira R.,Northumbria University | Isabella Bovolo C.,Northumbria University | Isabella Bovolo C.,Iwokrama International Center for Rainforest Conservation and Development | Spencer R.G.M.,Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | And 7 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2014

This study emphasizes the importance of rainstorm events in mobilizing carbon at the soil-stream interface from tropical rainforests. Half-hourly geochemical/isotopic records over a 13.5 h period from a 20 km2 tropical rainforest headwater in Guyana show an order of magnitude increase in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration in less than 30 mins (10.6-114 mg/L). The composition of DOC varies significantly and includes optically invisible dissolved organic matter (iDOM) that accounts for a large proportion (4-89%) of the total DOC, quantified using size exclusion chromatography (SEC). SEC suggests that iDOM is comprised of low molecular weight organic moieties, which are likely sourced from fresh leaf litter and/or topsoil, as shown in soils from the surrounding environment. Although poorly constrained at present, the presence of iDOM further downstream during the wet season suggests that this organic matter fraction may represent an unquantified source of riverine CO2 outgassing in tropical headwaters, requiring further consideration. Key Points Extremely variable riverine DOC concentration ranging from 10.6 to 114 mg/L iDOM accounts for 4-89% of the DOM pool Large variability of riverine DOM source and composition ©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Source

Bicknell J.E.,University of Kent | Bicknell J.E.,Iwokrama International Center for Rainforest Conservation and Development | Struebig M.J.,University of Kent | Davies Z.G.,University of Kent
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2015

Over 20% of the world's tropical forests have been selectively logged, and large expanses are allocated for future timber extraction. Reduced-impact logging (RIL) is being promoted as best practice forestry that increases sustainability and lowers CO2 emissions from logging, by reducing collateral damage associated with timber extraction. RIL is also expected to minimize the impacts of selective logging on biodiversity, although this is yet to be thoroughly tested. We undertake the most comprehensive study to date to investigate the biodiversity impacts of RIL across multiple taxonomic groups. We quantified birds, bats and large mammal assemblage structures, using a before-after control-impact (BACI) design across 20 sample sites over a 5-year period. Faunal surveys utilized point counts, mist nets and line transects and yielded >250 species. We examined assemblage responses to logging, as well as partitions of feeding guild and strata (understorey vs. canopy), and then tested for relationships with logging intensity to assess the primary determinants of community composition. Community analysis revealed little effect of RIL on overall assemblages, as structure and composition were similar before and after logging, and between logging and control sites. Variation in bird assemblages was explained by natural rates of change over time, and not logging intensity. However, when partitioned by feeding guild and strata, the frugivorous and canopy bird ensembles changed as a result of RIL, although the latter was also associated with change over time. Bats exhibited variable changes post-logging that were not related to logging, whereas large mammals showed no change at all. Indicator species analysis and correlations with logging intensities revealed that some species exhibited idiosyncratic responses to RIL, whilst abundance change of most others was associated with time. Synthesis and applications. Our study demonstrates the relatively benign effect of reduced-impact logging (RIL) on birds, bats and large mammals in a neotropical forest context, and therefore, we propose that forest managers should improve timber extraction techniques more widely. If RIL is extensively adopted, forestry concessions could represent sizeable and important additions to the global conservation estate - over 4 million km2. © 2015 The Authors. Source

Brienen R.J.W.,University of Leeds | Phillips O.L.,University of Leeds | Feldpausch T.R.,University of Leeds | Feldpausch T.R.,University of Exeter | And 102 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2015

Atmospheric carbon dioxide records indicate that the land surface has acted as a strong global carbon sink over recent decades, with a substantial fraction of this sink probably located in the tropics, particularly in the Amazon. Nevertheless, it is unclear how the terrestrial carbon sink will evolve as climate and atmospheric composition continue to change. Here we analyse the historical evolution of the biomass dynamics of the Amazon rainforest over three decades using a distributed network of 321 plots. While this analysis confirms that Amazon forests have acted as a long-term net biomass sink, we find a long-term decreasing trend of carbon accumulation. Rates of net increase in above-ground biomass declined by one-third during the past decade compared to the 1990s. This is a consequence of growth rate increases levelling off recently, while biomass mortality persistently increased throughout, leading to a shortening of carbon residence times. Potential drivers for the mortality increase include greater climate variability, and feedbacks of faster growth on mortality, resulting in shortened tree longevity. The observed decline of the Amazon sink diverges markedly from the recent increase in terrestrial carbon uptake at the global scale, and is contrary to expectations based on models. © 2015 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Source

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