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Medellín, Colombia

Honorio Coronado E.N.,University of Leeds | Honorio Coronado E.N.,Institute Investigaciones Of La Amazonia Peruana | Dexter K.G.,University of Edinburgh | Pennington R.T.,Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh | And 50 more authors.
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2015

Aim: To examine variation in the phylogenetic diversity (PD) of tree communities across geographical and environmental gradients in Amazonia. Location: Two hundred and eighty-three c. 1 ha forest inventory plots from across Amazonia. Methods: We evaluated PD as the total phylogenetic branch length across species in each plot (PDss), the mean pairwise phylogenetic distance between species (MPD), the mean nearest taxon distance (MNTD) and their equivalents standardized for species richness (ses.PDss, ses.MPD, ses.MNTD). We compared PD of tree communities growing (1) on substrates of varying geological age; and (2) in environments with varying ecophysiological barriers to growth and survival. Results: PDss is strongly positively correlated with species richness (SR), whereas MNTD has a negative correlation. Communities on geologically young- and intermediate-aged substrates (western and central Amazonia respectively) have the highest SR, and therefore the highest PDss and the lowest MNTD. We find that the youngest and oldest substrates (the latter on the Brazilian and Guiana Shields) have the highest ses.PDss and ses.MNTD. MPD and ses.MPD are strongly correlated with how evenly taxa are distributed among the three principal angiosperm clades and are both highest in western Amazonia. Meanwhile, seasonally dry tropical forest (SDTF) and forests on white sands have low PD, as evaluated by any metric. Main conclusions: High ses.PDss and ses.MNTD reflect greater lineage diversity in communities. We suggest that high ses.PDss and ses.MNTD in western Amazonia results from its favourable, easy-to-colonize environment, whereas high values in the Brazilian and Guianan Shields may be due to accumulation of lineages over a longer period of time. White-sand forests and SDTF are dominated by close relatives from fewer lineages, perhaps reflecting ecophysiological barriers that are difficult to surmount evolutionarily. Because MPD and ses.MPD do not reflect lineage diversity per se, we suggest that PDss, ses.PDss and ses.MNTD may be the most useful diversity metrics for setting large-scale conservation priorities. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Alvarez E.,Jardin Botanico de Medellin | Duque A.,National University of Colombia | Saldarriaga J.,Jardin Botanico de Medellin | Cabrera K.,National University of Colombia | And 6 more authors.
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2012

In this study, we analyzed the above-ground biomass data for 631 trees with a diameter ≥10. cm from different biogeographical regions in Colombia. The aims of this research were (1) to evaluate the accuracy of the most commonly employed pantropical allometric models for the estimation of above-ground biomass of natural forests in different sites located along a complex environmental gradient, (2) to develop new models that enable more precise estimations of current carbon stores in the above-ground biomass of natural forest ecosystems in Colombia, and (3) to evaluate the effect on allometric models of forest type classifications as determinants of above-ground biomass variation. The Brown et al. (1989) model for moist forests, which includes diameter, height, and wood density, showed the overall best performance in Colombian sites. The Type II models of Chave et al. (2005; hereafter Chave II), which include diameter and wood density but not height, tended to strikingly overestimate the above-ground biomass (54.7 ± 135.7%) in the studied Colombian sites. The use of forest classification based on the life zone system systematically led to better statistical models to estimate AGB at the individual scale and site scale than the use of Chave's classification. Our results propose that Chave II models should be evaluated prior to their use for a given ecosystem. For Colombia, the new allometric models developed, which employed diameter, wood density, and height, could help improving our understanding of the carbon cycle. Forest type classification was found to be an important determinant of the above-ground biomass estimation when altitudinal and other complex environmental gradients are included. The new models presented here can be considered as an alternative option for assessing carbon stocks in the above-ground biomass of natural forests in neotropical countries. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Quesada C.A.,University of Leeds | Quesada C.A.,National Institute of Amazonian Research | Phillips O.L.,University of Leeds | Schwarz M.,Ecoservices | And 46 more authors.
Biogeosciences | Year: 2012

Forest structure and dynamics vary across the Amazon Basin in an east-west gradient coincident with variations in soil fertility and geology. This has resulted in the hypothesis that soil fertility may play an important role in explaining Basin-wide variations in forest biomass, growth and stem turnover rates. Soil samples were collected in a total of 59 different forest plots across the Amazon Basin and analysed for exchangeable cations, carbon, nitrogen and pH, with several phosphorus fractions of likely different plant availability also quantified. Physical properties were additionally examined and an index of soil physical quality developed. Bivariate relationships of soil and climatic properties with above-ground wood productivity, stand-level tree turnover rates, above-ground wood biomass and wood density were first examined with multivariate regression models then applied. Both forms of analysis were undertaken with and without considerations regarding the underlying spatial structure of the dataset. Despite the presence of autocorrelated spatial structures complicating many analyses, forest structure and dynamics were found to be strongly and quantitatively related to edaphic as well as climatic conditions. Basin-wide differences in stand-level turnover rates are mostly influenced by soil physical properties with variations in rates of coarse wood production mostly related to soil phosphorus status. Total soil P was a better predictor of wood production rates than any of the fractionated organic- or inorganic-P pools. This suggests that it is not only the immediately available P forms, but probably the entire soil phosphorus pool that is interacting with forest growth on longer timescales. A role for soil potassium in modulating Amazon forest dynamics through its effects on stand-level wood density was also detected. Taking this into account, otherwise enigmatic variations in stand-level biomass across the Basin were then accounted for through the interacting effects of soil physical and chemical properties with climate. A hypothesis of self-maintaining forest dynamic feedback mechanisms initiated by edaphic conditions is proposed. It is further suggested that this is a major factor determining endogenous disturbance levels, species composition, and forest productivity across the Amazon Basin. © 2012 Author(s). CC Attribution 3.0 License.

Mitchard E.T.A.,University of Edinburgh | Feldpausch T.R.,University of Leeds | Feldpausch T.R.,University of Exeter | Brienen R.J.W.,University of Leeds | And 85 more authors.
Global Ecology and Biogeography | Year: 2014

Aim: The accurate mapping of forest carbon stocks is essential for understanding the global carbon cycle, for assessing emissions from deforestation, and for rational land-use planning. Remote sensing (RS) is currently the key tool for this purpose, but RS does not estimate vegetation biomass directly, and thus may miss significant spatial variations in forest structure. We test the stated accuracy of pantropical carbon maps using a large independent field dataset. Location: Tropical forests of the Amazon basin. The permanent archive of the field plot data can be accessed at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5521/FORESTPLOTS.NET/2014_1 Methods: Two recent pantropical RS maps of vegetation carbon are compared to a unique ground-plot dataset, involving tree measurements in 413 large inventory plots located in nine countries. The RS maps were compared directly to field plots, and kriging of the field data was used to allow area-based comparisons. Results: The two RS carbon maps fail to capture the main gradient in Amazon forest carbon detected using 413 ground plots, from the densely wooded tall forests of the north-east, to the light-wooded, shorter forests of the south-west. The differences between plots and RS maps far exceed the uncertainties given in these studies, with whole regions over- or under-estimated by >25%, whereas regional uncertainties for the maps were reported to be <5%. Main conclusions: Pantropical biomass maps are widely used by governments and by projects aiming to reduce deforestation using carbon offsets, but may have significant regional biases. Carbon-mapping techniques must be revised to account for the known ecological variation in tree wood density and allometry to create maps suitable for carbon accounting. The use of single relationships between tree canopy height and above-ground biomass inevitably yields large, spatially correlated errors. This presents a significant challenge to both the forest conservation and remote sensing communities, because neither wood density nor species assemblages can be reliably mapped from space. © 2014 The Authors. Global Ecology and Biogeography published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd..

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