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Warszawski L.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | Friend A.,University of Cambridge | Ostberg S.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | Frieler K.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | And 20 more authors.
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2013

Climate change may pose a high risk of change to Earth's ecosystems: shifting climatic boundaries may induce changes in the biogeochemical functioning and structures of ecosystems that render it difficult for endemic plant and animal species to survive in their current habitats. Here we aggregate changes in the biogeochemical ecosystem state as a proxy for the risk of these shifts at different levels of global warming. Estimates are based on simulations from seven global vegetation models (GVMs) driven by future climate scenarios, allowing for a quantification of the related uncertainties. 5-19% of the naturally vegetated land surface is projected to be at risk of severe ecosystem change at 2 ° C of global warming (ΔGMT) above 1980-2010 levels. However, there is limited agreement across the models about which geographical regions face the highest risk of change. The extent of regions at risk of severe ecosystem change is projected to rise with ΔGMT, approximately doubling between ΔGMT = 2 and 3 ° C, and reaching a median value of 35% of the naturally vegetated land surface for ΔGMT = 4 °C. The regions projected to face the highest risk of severe ecosystem changes above ΔGMT = 4 °C or earlier include the tundra and shrublands of the Tibetan Plateau, grasslands of eastern India, the boreal forests of northern Canada and Russia, the savanna region in the Horn of Africa, and the Amazon rainforest. © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd. Source


Quesada C.A.,University of Leeds | Lloyd J.,University of Leeds | Lloyd J.,James Cook University | Anderson L.O.,University of Oxford | And 4 more authors.
Biogeosciences | Year: 2011

The tropical forests of the Amazon Basin occur on a wide variety of different soil types reflecting a rich diversity of geologic origins and geomorphic processes. We here review the existing literature about the main soil groups of Amazonia, describing their genesis, geographical patterns and principal chemical, physical and morphologic characteristics. Original data is also presented, with profiles of exchangeable cations, carbon and particle size fraction illustrated for the principal soil types; also emphasizing the high diversity existing within the main soil groups when possible. Maps of geographic distribution of soils occurring under forest vegetation are also introduced, and to contextualize soils into an evolutionary framework, a scheme of soil development is presented having as its basis a chemical weathering index. We identify a continuum of soil evolution in Amazonia with soil properties varying predictably along this pedogenetic gradient. © 2011 Author(s). Source


Quesada C.A.,University of Leeds | Quesada C.A.,National Institute of Amazonian Research | Lloyd J.,University of Leeds | Schwarz M.,Max Planck Institute fuer Biogeochemie | And 27 more authors.
Biogeosciences | Year: 2010

Soil samples were collected in six South American countries in a total of 71 different 1 ha forest plots across the Amazon Basin as part of the RAINFOR project. They were analysed for total and exchangeable cations, C, N, pH with various P fractions also determined. Physical properties were also examined and an index of soil physical quality proposed. A diverse range of soils was found. For the western areas near the Andean cordillera and the southern and northern fringes, soils tend to be distributed among the lower pedogenetic levels, while the central and eastern areas of Amazonia have more intensely weathered soils. This gives rise to a large variation of soil chemical and physical properties across the Basin, with soil properties varying predictably along a gradient of pedogenic development. Nutrient pools generally increased slightly in concentration from the youngest to the intermediate aged soils after which a gradual decline was observed with the lowest values found in the most weathered soils. Soil physical properties were strongly correlated with soil fertility, with favourable physical properties occurring in highly weathered and nutrient depleted soils and with the least weathered, more fertile soils having higher incidence of limiting physical properties. Soil phosphorus concentrations varied markedly in accordance with weathering extent and appear to exert an important influence on the nitrogen cycle of Amazon forest soils. © 2010 Author(s). Source


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. Source

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