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Title: Drivers and mechanisms of tree mortality in moist tropical forests

Abstract

Tree mortality rates appear to be increasing in moist tropical forests (MTFs) with significant carbon cycle consequences. Here, we review the state of knowledge regarding MTF tree mortality, create a conceptual framework with testable hypotheses regarding the drivers, mechanisms and interactions that may underlie increasing MTF mortality rates, and identify the next steps for improved understanding and reduced prediction. Increasing mortality rates are associated with rising temperature and vapor pressure deficit, liana abundance, drought, wind events, fire and, possibly, CO 2 fertilization–induced increases in stand thinning or acceleration of trees reaching larger, more vulnerable heights. The majority of these mortality drivers may kill trees in part through carbon starvation and hydraulic failure. The relative importance of each driver is unknown. High species diversity may buffer MTFs against large–scale mortality events, but recent and expected trends in mortality drivers give reason for concern regarding increasing mortality within MTFs. Models of tropical tree mortality are advancing the representation of hydraulics, carbon and demography, but require more empirical knowledge regarding the most common drivers and their subsequent mechanisms. As a result, we outline critical datasets and model developments required to test hypotheses regarding the underlying causes of increasing MTF mortality rates, and improvemore » prediction of future mortality under climate change.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [6]; ORCiD logo [7];  [8];  [9];  [10];  [11];  [12];  [13];  [5];  [14];  [14];  [15];  [6];  [14];  [16] more »;  [17];  [6];  [18];  [19];  [20];  [8];  [21];  [22];  [23];  [24];  [5]; ORCiD logo [6];  [15];  [25];  [26];  [14]; ORCiD logo [27] « less
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. US Geological Survey, Los Alamos NM (United States)
  3. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Washington, D.C. (United States); Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, VA (United States)
  4. Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA (United States); Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental de Amazonia, Brasilia (Brazil)
  5. Univ. of Leeds, Leeds (United Kingdom)
  6. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  7. Univ. of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX (United States)
  8. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Washington, D.C. (United States)
  9. Northern Arizona Univ., Flagstaff, AZ (United States)
  10. Univ. Nacional de Columbia, Medellin (Columbia)
  11. Univ. of Lancaster, Lancaster (United Kingdom)
  12. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
  13. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
  14. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  15. Max Plank Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena (Germany)
  16. Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Selangor (Malaysia)
  17. USDA Jardin Botanico Sur, San Juan (Puerto Rico); Embrapa Agricultural Informatics, Brasilia (Brazil); Jet Propulsion Lab., Pasadena, CA (United States)
  18. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
  19. The Univ. of Tokyo, Tokyo (Japan)
  20. Univ. of Oxford, Oxford (United Kingdom)
  21. Univ. of Barcelona, Barcelona (Spain)
  22. Australian National Univ., Canberra, ACT (Australia); Univ. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (United Kingdom)
  23. Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States)
  24. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama Republica de Panama)
  25. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)
  26. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  27. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1506341
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1421573; OSTI ID: 1461063; OSTI ID: 1529987
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-132031
Journal ID: ISSN 0028-646X
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725; AC02-05CH11231; AC05-76RL01830
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:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; carbon (C) starvation; CO 2 fertilization; forest mortality; hydraulic failure; tropical forests; carbon starvation, CO2 fertilization, hydraulic failure, forest mortality, tropical forests

Citation Formats

McDowell, Nate, Allen, Craig D., Anderson-Teixeira, Kristina, Brando, Paulo, Brienen, Roel, Chambers, Jeff, Christoffersen, Brad, Davies, Stuart, Doughty, Chris, Duque, Alvaro, Espirito-Santo, Fernando, Fisher, Rosie, Fontes, Clarissa G., Galbraith, David, Goodsman, Devin, Grossiord, Charlotte, Hartmann, Henrik, Holm, Jennifer, Johnson, Daniel J., Kassim, Abd. Rahman, Keller, Michael, Koven, Charlie, Kueppers, Lara, Kumagai, Tomo'omi, Malhi, Yadvinder, McMahon, Sean M., Mencuccini, Maurizio, Meir, Patrick, Moorcroft, Paul, Muller-Landau, Helene C., Phillips, Oliver L., Powell, Thomas, Sierra, Carlos A., Sperry, John, Warren, Jeff, Xu, Chonggang, and Xu, Xiangtao. Drivers and mechanisms of tree mortality in moist tropical forests. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1111/nph.15027.
McDowell, Nate, Allen, Craig D., Anderson-Teixeira, Kristina, Brando, Paulo, Brienen, Roel, Chambers, Jeff, Christoffersen, Brad, Davies, Stuart, Doughty, Chris, Duque, Alvaro, Espirito-Santo, Fernando, Fisher, Rosie, Fontes, Clarissa G., Galbraith, David, Goodsman, Devin, Grossiord, Charlotte, Hartmann, Henrik, Holm, Jennifer, Johnson, Daniel J., Kassim, Abd. Rahman, Keller, Michael, Koven, Charlie, Kueppers, Lara, Kumagai, Tomo'omi, Malhi, Yadvinder, McMahon, Sean M., Mencuccini, Maurizio, Meir, Patrick, Moorcroft, Paul, Muller-Landau, Helene C., Phillips, Oliver L., Powell, Thomas, Sierra, Carlos A., Sperry, John, Warren, Jeff, Xu, Chonggang, & Xu, Xiangtao. Drivers and mechanisms of tree mortality in moist tropical forests. United States. doi:10.1111/nph.15027.
McDowell, Nate, Allen, Craig D., Anderson-Teixeira, Kristina, Brando, Paulo, Brienen, Roel, Chambers, Jeff, Christoffersen, Brad, Davies, Stuart, Doughty, Chris, Duque, Alvaro, Espirito-Santo, Fernando, Fisher, Rosie, Fontes, Clarissa G., Galbraith, David, Goodsman, Devin, Grossiord, Charlotte, Hartmann, Henrik, Holm, Jennifer, Johnson, Daniel J., Kassim, Abd. Rahman, Keller, Michael, Koven, Charlie, Kueppers, Lara, Kumagai, Tomo'omi, Malhi, Yadvinder, McMahon, Sean M., Mencuccini, Maurizio, Meir, Patrick, Moorcroft, Paul, Muller-Landau, Helene C., Phillips, Oliver L., Powell, Thomas, Sierra, Carlos A., Sperry, John, Warren, Jeff, Xu, Chonggang, and Xu, Xiangtao. Fri . "Drivers and mechanisms of tree mortality in moist tropical forests". United States. doi:10.1111/nph.15027. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1506341.
@article{osti_1506341,
title = {Drivers and mechanisms of tree mortality in moist tropical forests},
author = {McDowell, Nate and Allen, Craig D. and Anderson-Teixeira, Kristina and Brando, Paulo and Brienen, Roel and Chambers, Jeff and Christoffersen, Brad and Davies, Stuart and Doughty, Chris and Duque, Alvaro and Espirito-Santo, Fernando and Fisher, Rosie and Fontes, Clarissa G. and Galbraith, David and Goodsman, Devin and Grossiord, Charlotte and Hartmann, Henrik and Holm, Jennifer and Johnson, Daniel J. and Kassim, Abd. Rahman and Keller, Michael and Koven, Charlie and Kueppers, Lara and Kumagai, Tomo'omi and Malhi, Yadvinder and McMahon, Sean M. and Mencuccini, Maurizio and Meir, Patrick and Moorcroft, Paul and Muller-Landau, Helene C. and Phillips, Oliver L. and Powell, Thomas and Sierra, Carlos A. and Sperry, John and Warren, Jeff and Xu, Chonggang and Xu, Xiangtao},
abstractNote = {Tree mortality rates appear to be increasing in moist tropical forests (MTFs) with significant carbon cycle consequences. Here, we review the state of knowledge regarding MTF tree mortality, create a conceptual framework with testable hypotheses regarding the drivers, mechanisms and interactions that may underlie increasing MTF mortality rates, and identify the next steps for improved understanding and reduced prediction. Increasing mortality rates are associated with rising temperature and vapor pressure deficit, liana abundance, drought, wind events, fire and, possibly, CO2 fertilization–induced increases in stand thinning or acceleration of trees reaching larger, more vulnerable heights. The majority of these mortality drivers may kill trees in part through carbon starvation and hydraulic failure. The relative importance of each driver is unknown. High species diversity may buffer MTFs against large–scale mortality events, but recent and expected trends in mortality drivers give reason for concern regarding increasing mortality within MTFs. Models of tropical tree mortality are advancing the representation of hydraulics, carbon and demography, but require more empirical knowledge regarding the most common drivers and their subsequent mechanisms. As a result, we outline critical datasets and model developments required to test hypotheses regarding the underlying causes of increasing MTF mortality rates, and improve prediction of future mortality under climate change.},
doi = {10.1111/nph.15027},
journal = {New Phytologist},
number = 3,
volume = 219,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {2}
}

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Figures / Tables:

Fig. 1 Fig. 1: Axes of variability in tropical tree mortality. (a) Mortality rate (as log(initial number) – log(number survivors))/(years)) vs stem diameter in Pasoh, Malaysia and Barro Colorado, Panama (bars are 95% confidence intervals (CIs), no major droughts during censuses); this highlights that both negative and positive mortality rates as amore » function of diameter can be found (data from Muller-Landau et al., 2006). (b) Mortality rates (number of individuals died per number of total individuals per year; all subsequent figures use this calculation; see Box 1 Glossary and Supporting Information Methods S1 on mortality rate calculations) plotted as the ratio of mortality rate during drought relative to a control period across a range of stem diameters for 12 sites across the tropics (symbols represent different sites), showing the clear pattern of size–mortality relationships during droughts (data from Bennett et al., 2015). (c) The mortality rates in forests in Borneo and the Amazon measured post-drought, highlighting regional differences (data from Phillips et al., 2010). (d) Mortality rate vs lifehistory strategy in Barro Colorado, Panama, highlighting the role of successional strategy on long-term mortality rates (data from Condit et al., 1995). (e) Mortality rate vs wood density in Barro Colorado, Panama, highlighting a significant but weak relationship (P < 0.05; data from Wright et al., 2010). (f) Mortality rate as a function of liana cover class in Pasoh, Malaysia, highlighting the influence of lianas on mortality. Liana cover class: 0, no lianas; 1, up to25%of the crown covered by lianas; 2, 26–50%; 3, 51–75%; 4, 76–100% (data from Wright et al., 2015). All error bars are $\pm$ SE.« less

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      Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.