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Title: Ecosystem heterogeneity and diversity mitigate Amazon forest resilience to frequent extreme droughts

Abstract

The impact of increases in drought frequency on the Amazon forest's composition, structure and functioning remain uncertain. We used a process- and individual-based ecosystem model (ED2) to quantify the forest's vulnerability to increased drought recurrence. We generated meteorologically realistic, drier-than-observed rainfall scenarios for two Amazon forest sites, Paracou (wetter) and Tapajós (drier), to evaluate the impacts of more frequent droughts on forest biomass, structure and composition. The wet site was insensitive to the tested scenarios, whereas at the dry site biomass declined when average rainfall reduction exceeded 15%, due to high mortality of large-sized evergreen trees. Biomass losses persisted when year-long drought recurrence was shorter than 2–7 yr, depending upon soil texture and leaf phenology. From the site-level scenario results, we developed regionally applicable metrics to quantify the Amazon forest's climatological proximity to rainfall regimes likely to cause biomass loss >20% in 50 yr according to ED2 predictions. Nearly 25% (1.8 million km 2) of the Amazon forests could experience frequent droughts and biomass loss if mean annual rainfall or interannual variability changed by 2σ. At least 10% of the high-emission climate projections (CMIP5/RCP8.5 models) predict critically dry regimes over 25% of the Amazon forest area by 2100.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [3];  [4];  [5];  [6];  [7];  [8];  [9];  [10];  [11];  [10];  [7];  [12];  [7];  [7]
  1. Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States); California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
  4. INRA, UMR EEF (France)
  5. Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)
  6. State Univ. of New York (SUNY), Albany, NY (United States)
  7. Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States)
  8. University of Technology Sydney (Australia) ; Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States)
  9. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States)
  10. Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará, , Santarém, PA (United States)
  11. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
  12. Hohai University, Nanjing, Jiangsu (China)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1487084
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
New Phytologist
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 219; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0028-646X
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Amazon; biomass loss; climate change; droughts; ecosystem demography model; forest vulnerability; water and light competition

Citation Formats

Longo, Marcos, Knox, Ryan G., Levine, Naomi M., Alves, Luciana F., Bonal, Damien, Camargo, Plinio B., Fitzjarrald, David R., Hayek, Matthew N., Restrepo-Coupe, Natalia, Saleska, Scott R., da Silva, Rodrigo, Stark, Scott C., Tapajós, Raphael P., Wiedemann, Kenia T., Zhang, Ke, Wofsy, Steven C., and Moorcroft, Paul R. Ecosystem heterogeneity and diversity mitigate Amazon forest resilience to frequent extreme droughts. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1111/nph.15185.
Longo, Marcos, Knox, Ryan G., Levine, Naomi M., Alves, Luciana F., Bonal, Damien, Camargo, Plinio B., Fitzjarrald, David R., Hayek, Matthew N., Restrepo-Coupe, Natalia, Saleska, Scott R., da Silva, Rodrigo, Stark, Scott C., Tapajós, Raphael P., Wiedemann, Kenia T., Zhang, Ke, Wofsy, Steven C., & Moorcroft, Paul R. Ecosystem heterogeneity and diversity mitigate Amazon forest resilience to frequent extreme droughts. United States. doi:10.1111/nph.15185.
Longo, Marcos, Knox, Ryan G., Levine, Naomi M., Alves, Luciana F., Bonal, Damien, Camargo, Plinio B., Fitzjarrald, David R., Hayek, Matthew N., Restrepo-Coupe, Natalia, Saleska, Scott R., da Silva, Rodrigo, Stark, Scott C., Tapajós, Raphael P., Wiedemann, Kenia T., Zhang, Ke, Wofsy, Steven C., and Moorcroft, Paul R. Tue . "Ecosystem heterogeneity and diversity mitigate Amazon forest resilience to frequent extreme droughts". United States. doi:10.1111/nph.15185. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1487084.
@article{osti_1487084,
title = {Ecosystem heterogeneity and diversity mitigate Amazon forest resilience to frequent extreme droughts},
author = {Longo, Marcos and Knox, Ryan G. and Levine, Naomi M. and Alves, Luciana F. and Bonal, Damien and Camargo, Plinio B. and Fitzjarrald, David R. and Hayek, Matthew N. and Restrepo-Coupe, Natalia and Saleska, Scott R. and da Silva, Rodrigo and Stark, Scott C. and Tapajós, Raphael P. and Wiedemann, Kenia T. and Zhang, Ke and Wofsy, Steven C. and Moorcroft, Paul R.},
abstractNote = {The impact of increases in drought frequency on the Amazon forest's composition, structure and functioning remain uncertain. We used a process- and individual-based ecosystem model (ED2) to quantify the forest's vulnerability to increased drought recurrence. We generated meteorologically realistic, drier-than-observed rainfall scenarios for two Amazon forest sites, Paracou (wetter) and Tapajós (drier), to evaluate the impacts of more frequent droughts on forest biomass, structure and composition. The wet site was insensitive to the tested scenarios, whereas at the dry site biomass declined when average rainfall reduction exceeded 15%, due to high mortality of large-sized evergreen trees. Biomass losses persisted when year-long drought recurrence was shorter than 2–7 yr, depending upon soil texture and leaf phenology. From the site-level scenario results, we developed regionally applicable metrics to quantify the Amazon forest's climatological proximity to rainfall regimes likely to cause biomass loss >20% in 50 yr according to ED2 predictions. Nearly 25% (1.8 million km2) of the Amazon forests could experience frequent droughts and biomass loss if mean annual rainfall or interannual variability changed by 2σ. At least 10% of the high-emission climate projections (CMIP5/RCP8.5 models) predict critically dry regimes over 25% of the Amazon forest area by 2100.},
doi = {10.1111/nph.15185},
journal = {New Phytologist},
number = 3,
volume = 219,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {5}
}

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