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Morphological correlates of fire-induced tree mortality in a central Amazonian forest.

Barlow, Jos and Lagan, Bernard O. and Peres, Carlos A. (2003) Morphological correlates of fire-induced tree mortality in a central Amazonian forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 19 (3). pp. 291-299. ISSN 1469-7831

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Abstract

Tree characteristics were recorded from 2829 standing trees in 24 0.25-ha terra firme forest plots in central Amazonia, 3 y after a surface fire had swept through the study area. Sixteen of the plots were within forest that burnt for the first time at the end of the 1997-98 El Niño (ENSO) event, and the remaining eight plots were within unburnt primary forest. In order to investigate the morphological correlates of tree mortality, we measured tree diameter at breast height (dbh) and bark thickness, and recorded burn height, bark roughness and the presence of latex, resin and buttress roots. Leaf litter depth was also recorded at the base of all trees in the unburnt forest. Using logistic regression models, tree mortality was best explained by the burn height, although dbh and the presence of buttresses were also important. Buttressed trees were associated with deeper leaf litter accumulation at their bases and higher char heights than trees without buttresses. Moreover, trees surviving the fire had significantly thicker bark than living trees in unburnt forest plots, indicating that thin-barked trees are more prone to selective mortality induced by heat stress. Latex did not appear to have had any significant effects on mortality, though resins were less abundant amongst the live trees in the burnt forest than in the unburnt controls. Levels of fire-mediated tree mortality in this study are compared with those in other Amazonian forest regions in light of historical factors affecting tree resistance to fires.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Tropical Ecology
Additional Information: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=TRO The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal of Tropical Ecology, 19 (3), pp 291-299 2003, © 2003 Cambridge University Press.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Amazonia ; bark properties ; El Niño events ; fire disturbance ; surface fires ; tropical forest.
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 10378
Deposited By: Dr Jos Barlow
Deposited On: 11 Jul 2008 16:54
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 01:03
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/10378

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