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Title: Multidecadal stability in tropical rain forest structure and dynamics across an old-growth landscape

Abstract

Have tropical rain forest landscapes changed directionally through recent decades? To answer this question requires tracking forest structure and dynamics through time and across within-forest environmental heterogeneity. While the impacts of major environmental gradients in soil nutrients, climate and topography on lowland tropical rain forest (TRF) structure and function have been extensively analyzed, the effects of the shorter environmental gradients typical of mesoscale TRF landscapes remain poorly understood. To evaluate multi-decadal performance of an old-growth TRF at the La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica, we established 18 0.5-ha annually-censused forest inventory plots in a stratified-random design across major landscape edaphic gradients. Over the 17-year study period, there were moderate differences in stand dynamics and structure across these gradients but no detectable difference in woody productivity. We found large effects on forest structure and dynamics from the mega-Niño event at the outset of the study, with subdecadal recovery and subsequent stabilization. To extend the timeline to >40 years, we combined our findings with those from earlier studies at this site. While there were annual to multiannual variations in the structure and dynamics, particularly in relation to local disturbances and the mega-Niño event, at the longer temporal scale and broader spatial scalemore » this landscape was remarkably stable. This stability contrasts notably with a current hypothesis of increasing biomass and dynamics of TRF, which we term the Bigger and Faster Hypothesis (B&FH o). We consider possible reasons for the contradiction and conclude that it is currently not possible to independently assess the vast majority of previously published B&FH o evidence due to restricted data access.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Florida International Univ., Miami, FL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1398135
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1499889
Grant/Contract Number:  
FG02-96ER62289
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
PLoS ONE
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: PLoS ONE Journal Volume: 12 Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher:
Public Library of Science
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Clark, David B., Clark, Deborah A., Oberbauer, Steven F., Kellner, James R., and Zang, ed., RunGuo. Multidecadal stability in tropical rain forest structure and dynamics across an old-growth landscape. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0183819.
Clark, David B., Clark, Deborah A., Oberbauer, Steven F., Kellner, James R., & Zang, ed., RunGuo. Multidecadal stability in tropical rain forest structure and dynamics across an old-growth landscape. United States. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0183819.
Clark, David B., Clark, Deborah A., Oberbauer, Steven F., Kellner, James R., and Zang, ed., RunGuo. Thu . "Multidecadal stability in tropical rain forest structure and dynamics across an old-growth landscape". United States. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0183819.
@article{osti_1398135,
title = {Multidecadal stability in tropical rain forest structure and dynamics across an old-growth landscape},
author = {Clark, David B. and Clark, Deborah A. and Oberbauer, Steven F. and Kellner, James R. and Zang, ed., RunGuo},
abstractNote = {Have tropical rain forest landscapes changed directionally through recent decades? To answer this question requires tracking forest structure and dynamics through time and across within-forest environmental heterogeneity. While the impacts of major environmental gradients in soil nutrients, climate and topography on lowland tropical rain forest (TRF) structure and function have been extensively analyzed, the effects of the shorter environmental gradients typical of mesoscale TRF landscapes remain poorly understood. To evaluate multi-decadal performance of an old-growth TRF at the La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica, we established 18 0.5-ha annually-censused forest inventory plots in a stratified-random design across major landscape edaphic gradients. Over the 17-year study period, there were moderate differences in stand dynamics and structure across these gradients but no detectable difference in woody productivity. We found large effects on forest structure and dynamics from the mega-Niño event at the outset of the study, with subdecadal recovery and subsequent stabilization. To extend the timeline to >40 years, we combined our findings with those from earlier studies at this site. While there were annual to multiannual variations in the structure and dynamics, particularly in relation to local disturbances and the mega-Niño event, at the longer temporal scale and broader spatial scale this landscape was remarkably stable. This stability contrasts notably with a current hypothesis of increasing biomass and dynamics of TRF, which we term the Bigger and Faster Hypothesis (B&FHo). We consider possible reasons for the contradiction and conclude that it is currently not possible to independently assess the vast majority of previously published B&FHo evidence due to restricted data access.},
doi = {10.1371/journal.pone.0183819},
journal = {PLoS ONE},
number = 10,
volume = 12,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {10}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183819

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