Relationships among net primary productivity, nutrients and climate in tropical rain forest: A pan-tropical analysis

Ecology Letters
By: , and 

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Abstract

Tropical rain forests play a dominant role in global biosphere-atmosphere CO2 exchange. Although climate and nutrient availability regulate net primary production (NPP) and decomposition in all terrestrial ecosystems, the nature and extent of such controls in tropical forests remain poorly resolved. We conducted a meta-analysis of carbon-nutrient-climate relationships in 113 sites across the tropical forest biome. Our analyses showed that mean annual temperature was the strongest predictor of aboveground NPP (ANPP) across all tropical forests, but this relationship was driven by distinct temperature differences between upland and lowland forests. Within lowland forests (< 1000 m), a regression tree analysis revealed that foliar and soil-based measurements of phosphorus (P) were the only variables that explained a significant proportion of the variation in ANPP, although the relationships were weak. However, foliar P, foliar nitrogen (N), litter decomposition rate (k), soil N and soil respiration were all directly related with total surface (0–10 cm) soil P concentrations. Our analysis provides some evidence that P availability regulates NPP and other ecosystem processes in lowland tropical forests, but more importantly, underscores the need for a series of large-scale nutrient manipulations – especially in lowland forests – to elucidate the most important nutrient interactions and controls.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Relationships among net primary productivity, nutrients and climate in tropical rain forest: A pan-tropical analysis
Series title Ecology Letters
DOI 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01658.x
Volume 14
Issue 9
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 9 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Ecology Letters
First page 939
Last page 947