Natl Inst Amazonian Res, BR-69067375 Manaus, Amazonas - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 6
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;
DEC 29 2020.
Web of Science Citations:
Forests are the largest terrestrial biomass pool, with over half of this biomass stored in the highly productive tropical lowland forests. The future evolution of forest biomass depends critically on the response of tree longevity and growth rates to future climate. We present an analysis of the variation in tree longevity and growth rate using tree-ring data of 3,343 populations and 438 tree species and assess how climate controls growth and tree longevity across world biomes. Tropical trees grow, on average, two times faster compared to trees from temperate and boreal biomes and live significantly shorter, on average (186 +/- 138 y compared to 322 +/- 201 y outside the tropics). At the global scale, growth rates and longevity covary strongly with temperature. Within the warm tropical lowlands, where broadleaf species dominate the vegetation, we find consistent decreases in tree longevity with increasing aridity, as well as a pronounced reduction in longevity above mean annual temperatures of 25.4 degrees C. These independent effects of temperature and water availability on tree longevity in the tropics are consistent with theoretical predictions of increases in evaporative demands at the leaf level under a warmer and drier climate and could explain observed increases in tree mortality in tropical forests, including the Amazon, and shifts in forest composition in western Africa. Our results suggest that conditions supporting only lower tree longevity in the tropical lowlands are likely to expand under future drier and especially warmer climates. (AU)