The global abundance of tree palms

Muscarella, R. and Emilio, T. and Phillips, O.L. and Lewis, S.L. and Slik, F. and Baker, W.J. and Couvreur, T.L.P. and Eiserhardt, W.L. and Svenning, J.-C. and Affum-Baffoe, K. and Aiba, S.-I. and de Almeida, E.C. and de Almeida, S.S. and de Oliveira, E.A. and Álvarez-Dávila, E. and Alves, L.F. and Alvez-Valles, C.M. and Carvalho, F.A. and Guarin, F.A. and Andrade, A. and Aragão, L.E.O.C. and Murakami, A.A. and Arroyo, L. and Ashton, P.S. and Corredor, G.A.A. and Baker, T.R. and de Camargo, P.B. and Barlow, J. and Bastin, J.-F. and Bengone, N.N. and Berenguer, E. and Berry, N. and Blanc, L. and Böhning-Gaese, K. and Bonal, D. and Bongers, F. and Bradford, M. and Brambach, F. and Brearley, F.Q. and Brewer, S.W. and Camargo, J.L.C. and Campbell, D.G. and Castilho, C.V. and Castro, W. and Catchpole, D. and Cerón Martínez, C.E. and Chen, S. and Chhang, P. and Cho, P. and Chutipong, W. and Clark, C. and Collins, M. and Comiskey, J.A. and Medina, M.N.C. and Costa, F.R.C. and Culmsee, H. and David-Higuita, H. and Davidar, P. and del Aguila-Pasquel, J. and Derroire, G. and Di Fiore, A. and Van Do, T. and Doucet, J.-L. and Dourdain, A. and Drake, D.R. and Ensslin, A. and Erwin, T. and Ewango, C.E.N. and Ewers, R.M. and Fauset, S. and Feldpausch, T.R. and Ferreira, J. and Ferreira, L.V. and Fischer, M. and Franklin, J. and Fredriksson, G.M. and Gillespie, T.W. and Gilpin, M. and Gonmadje, C. and Gunatilleke, A.U.N. and Hakeem, K.R. and Hall, J.S. and Hamer, K.C. and Harris, D.J. and Harrison, R.D. and Hector, A. and Hemp, A. and Herault, B. and Pizango, C.G.H. and Coronado, E.N.H. and Hubau, W. and Hussain, M.S. and Ibrahim, F.-H. and Imai, N. and Joly, C.A. and Joseph, S. and Anitha, K. and Kartawinata, K. and Kassi, J. and Killeen, T.J. and Kitayama, K. and Klitgård, B.B. and Kooyman, R. and Labrière, N. and Larney, E. and Laumonier, Y. and Laurance, S.G. and Laurance, W.F. and Lawes, M.J. and Levesley, A. and Lisingo, J. and Lovejoy, T. and Lovett, J.C. and Lu, X. and Lykke, A.M. and Magnusson, W.E. and Mahayani, N.P.D. and Malhi, Y. and Mansor, A. and Peña, J.L.M. and Marimon-Junior, B.H. and Marshall, A.R. and Melgaco, K. and Bautista, C.M. and Mihindou, V. and Millet, J. and Milliken, W. and Mohandass, D. and Mendoza, A.L.M. and Mugerwa, B. and Nagamasu, H. and Nagy, L. and Seuaturien, N. and Nascimento, M.T. and Neill, D.A. and Neto, L.M. and Nilus, R. and Vargas, M.P.N. and Nurtjahya, E. and de Araújo, R.N.O. and Onrizal, O. and Palacios, W.A. and Palacios-Ramos, S. and Parren, M. and Paudel, E. and Morandi, P.S. and Pennington, R.T. and Pickavance, G. and Pipoly J.J., III and Pitman, N.C.A. and Poedjirahajoe, E. and Poorter, L. and Poulsen, J.R. and Rama Chandra Prasad, P. and Prieto, A. and Puyravaud, J.-P. and Qie, L. and Quesada, C.A. and Ramírez-Angulo, H. and Razafimahaimodison, J.C. and Reitsma, J.M. and Requena-Rojas, E.J. and Correa, Z.R. and Rodriguez, C.R. and Roopsind, A. and Rovero, F. and Rozak, A. and Lleras, A.R. and Rutishauser, E. and Rutten, G. and Punchi-Manage, R. and Salomão, R.P. and Van Sam, H. and Sarker, S.K. and Satdichanh, M. and Schietti, J. and Schmitt, C.B. and Marimon, B.S. and Senbeta, F. and Nath Sharma, L. and Sheil, D. and Sierra, R. and Silva-Espejo, J.E. and Silveira, M. and Sonké, B. and Steininger, M.K. and Steinmetz, R. and Stévart, T. and Sukumar, R. and Sultana, A. and Sunderland, T.C.H. and Suresh, H.S. and Tang, J. and Tanner, E. and ter Steege, H. and Terborgh, J.W. and Theilade, I. and Timberlake, J. and Torres-Lezama, A. and Umunay, P. and Uriarte, M. and Gamarra, L.V. and van de Bult, M. and van der Hout, P. and Martinez, R.V. and Vieira, I.C.G. and Vieira, S.A. and Vilanova, E. and Cayo, J.V. and Wang, O. and Webb, C.O. and Webb, E.L. and White, L. and Whitfeld, T.J.S. and Wich, S. and Willcock, S. and Wiser, S.K. and Young, K.R. and Zakaria, R. and Zang, R. and Zartman, C.E. and Zo-Bi, I.C. and Balslev, H. (2020) The global abundance of tree palms. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 29 (9). pp. 1495-1514. ISSN 1466-822X

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Aim: Palms are an iconic, diverse and often abundant component of tropical ecosystems that provide many ecosystem services. Being monocots, tree palms are evolutionarily, morphologically and physiologically distinct from other trees, and these differences have important consequences for ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration and storage) and in terms of responses to climate change. We quantified global patterns of tree palm relative abundance to help improve understanding of tropical forests and reduce uncertainty about these ecosystems under climate change. Location: Tropical and subtropical moist forests. Time period: Current. Major taxa studied: Palms (Arecaceae). Methods: We assembled a pantropical dataset of 2,548 forest plots (covering 1,191 ha) and quantified tree palm (i.e., ≥10 cm diameter at breast height) abundance relative to co-occurring non-palm trees. We compared the relative abundance of tree palms across biogeographical realms and tested for associations with palaeoclimate stability, current climate, edaphic conditions and metrics of forest structure. Results: On average, the relative abundance of tree palms was more than five times larger between Neotropical locations and other biogeographical realms. Tree palms were absent in most locations outside the Neotropics but present in >80% of Neotropical locations. The relative abundance of tree palms was more strongly associated with local conditions (e.g., higher mean annual precipitation, lower soil fertility, shallower water table and lower plot mean wood density) than metrics of long-term climate stability. Life-form diversity also influenced the patterns; palm assemblages outside the Neotropics comprise many non-tree (e.g., climbing) palms. Finally, we show that tree palms can influence estimates of above-ground biomass, but the magnitude and direction of the effect require additional work. Conclusions: Tree palms are not only quintessentially tropical, but they are also overwhelmingly Neotropical. Future work to understand the contributions of tree palms to biomass estimates and carbon cycling will be particularly crucial in Neotropical forests.

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Journal Article
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Global Ecology and Biogeography
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28 Jul 2020 10:20
Last Modified:
30 Sep 2020 09:53