Functional susceptibility of tropical forests to climate change

Aguirre‐Gutiérrez, Jesús and Berenguer, Erika and Oliveras Menor, Imma and Bauman, David and Corral-Rivas, Jose Javier and Nava-Miranda, Maria Guadalupe and Both, Sabine and Ndong, Josué Edzang and Ondo, Fidèle Evouna and Bengone, Natacha N’ssi and Mihinhou, Vianet and Dalling, James W. and Heineman, Katherine and Figueiredo, Axa and González-M, Roy and Norden, Natalia and Hurtado-M, Ana Belén and González, Diego and Salgado-Negret, Beatriz and Reis, Simone Matias and Moraes de Seixas, Marina Maria and Farfan-Rios, William and Shenkin, Alexander and Riutta, Terhi and Girardin, Cécile A. J. and Moore, Sam and Abernethy, Kate and Asner, Gregory P. and Bentley, Lisa Patrick and Burslem, David F.R.P. and Cernusak, Lucas A. and Enquist, Brian J. and Ewers, Robert M. and Ferreira, Joice and Jeffery, Kathryn J. and Joly, Carlos A. and Marimon-Junior, Ben Hur and Martin, Roberta E. and Morandi, Paulo S. and Phillips, Oliver L. and Bennett, Amy C. and Lewis, Simon L. and Quesada, Carlos A. and Marimon, Beatriz Schwantes and Kissling, W. Daniel and Silman, Miles and Teh, Yit Arn and White, Lee J. T. and Salinas, Norma and Coomes, David A. and Barlow, Jos and Adu-Bredu, Stephen and Malhi, Yadvinder (2022) Functional susceptibility of tropical forests to climate change. Nature Ecology and Evolution. ISSN 2397-334X

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Abstract

Tropical forests are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, yet their functioning is threatened by anthropogenic disturbances and climate change. Global actions to conserve tropical forests could be enhanced by having local knowledge on the forestsʼ functional diversity and functional redundancy as proxies for their capacity to respond to global environmental change. Here we create estimates of plant functional diversity and redundancy across the tropics by combining a dataset of 16 morphological, chemical and photosynthetic plant traits sampled from 2,461 individual trees from 74 sites distributed across four continents together with local climate data for the past half century. Our findings suggest a strong link between climate and functional diversity and redundancy with the three trait groups responding similarly across the tropics and climate gradient. We show that drier tropical forests are overall less functionally diverse than wetter forests and that functional redundancy declines with increasing soil water and vapour pressure deficits. Areas with high functional diversity and high functional redundancy tend to better maintain ecosystem functioning, such as aboveground biomass, after extreme weather events. Our predictions suggest that the lower functional diversity and lower functional redundancy of drier tropical forests, in comparison with wetter forests, may leave them more at risk of shifting towards alternative states in face of further declines in water availability across tropical regions.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Nature Ecology and Evolution
Subjects:
ID Code:
171976
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
17 Jun 2022 13:05
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
20 Jan 2023 22:32