Growth and reproduction respond differently to climate in three Neotropical tree species
AffiliationLaboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona
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CitationGrowth and reproduction respond differently to climate in three Neotropical tree species 2017, 184 (2):531 Oecologia
Rights© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017
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AbstractThe response of tropical forests to anthropogenic climate change is critically important to future global carbon budgets, yet remains highly uncertain. Here, we investigate how precipitation, temperature, solar radiation and dry-and wet-season lengths are related to annual tree growth, flower production, and fruit production in three moist tropical forest tree species using long-term datasets from tree rings and litter traps in central Panama. We also evaluated how growth, flower, and fruit production were interrelated. We found that growth was positively correlated with wet-season precipitation in all three species: Jacaranda copaia (r = 0.63), Tetragastris panamensis (r = 0.39) and Trichilia tuberculata (r = 0.39). Flowering and fruiting in Jacaranda were negatively related to current-year dry-season rainfall and positively related to prior-year dry-season rainfall. Flowering in Tetragastris was negatively related to current-year annual mean temperature while Trichilia showed no significant relationships of reproduction with climate. Growth was significantly related to reproduction only in Tetragastris, where it was positively related to previous year fruiting. Our results suggest that tree growth in moist tropical forest tree species is generally reduced by drought events such as those associated with strong El Nino events. In contrast, interannual variation in reproduction is not generally associated with growth and has distinct and species-specific climate responses, with positive effects of El Nino events in some species. Understanding these contrasting climate effects on tree growth and reproduction is critical to predicting changes in tropical forest dynamics and species composition under climate change.
Note12 month embargo; First Online: 05 May 2017
VersionFinal accepted manuscript
SponsorsSmithsonian Tropical Research Institute; Ecometas excellence network [CGL2014-53840-REDT]