Publications

Tree mode of death and mortality risk factors across Amazon forests

Esquivel-Muelbert, Adriane; Phillips, Oliver L.; Brienen, Roel J.W.; Fauset, Sophie; Sullivan, Martin J.P.; Baker, Timothy R.; Chao, Kuo Jung; Feldpausch, Ted R.; Gloor, Emanuel; Higuchi, Niro; Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanne; Lloyd, Jon; Liu, Haiyan; Malhi, Yadvinder; Marimon, Beatriz; Marimon Junior, Ben Hur; Monteagudo-Mendoza, Abel; Poorter, Lourens; Silveira, Marcos; Torre, Emilio Vilanova; Dávila, Esteban Alvarez; Aguila Pasquel, Jhon del; Almeida, Everton; Loayza, Patricia Alvarez; Andrade, Ana; Aragão, Luiz E.O.C.; Araujo-Murakami, Alejandro; Arets, Eric; Arroyo, Luzmila; Aymard C, Gerardo A.; Baisie, Michel; Baraloto, Christopher; Camargo, Plínio Barbosa; Barroso, Jorcely; Blanc, Lilian; Bonal, Damien; Bongers, Frans; Boot, René; Brown, Foster; Burban, Benoit; Camargo, José Luís; Castro, Wendeson; Moscoso, Victor Chama; Chave, Jerome; Comiskey, James; Valverde, Fernando Cornejo; Costa, Antonio Lola da; Cardozo, Nallaret Davila; Fiore, Anthony Di; Dourdain, Aurélie; Erwin, Terry; Llampazo, Gerardo Flores; Vieira, Ima Célia Guimarães; Herrera, Rafael; Honorio Coronado, Eurídice; Huamantupa-Chuquimaco, Isau; Jimenez-Rojas, Eliana; Killeen, Timothy; Laurance, Susan; Laurance, William; Levesley, Aurora; Lewis, Simon L.; Ladvocat, Karina Liana Lisboa Melgaço; Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela; Lovejoy, Thomas; Meir, Patrick; Mendoza, Casimiro; Morandi, Paulo; Neill, David; Nogueira Lima, Adriano José; Vargas, Percy Nuñez; Oliveira, Edmar Almeida de; Camacho, Nadir Pallqui; Pardo, Guido; Peacock, Julie; Peña-Claros, Marielos; Peñuela-Mora, Maria Cristina; Pickavance, Georgia; Pipoly, John; Pitman, Nigel; Prieto, Adriana; Pugh, Thomas A.M.; Quesada, Carlos; Ramirez-Angulo, Hirma; Almeida Reis, Simone Matias de; Rejou-Machain, Maxime; Correa, Zorayda Restrepo; Bayona, Lily Rodriguez; Rudas, Agustín; Salomão, Rafael; Serrano, Julio; Espejo, Javier Silva; Silva, Natalino; Singh, James; Stahl, Clement; Stropp, Juliana; Swamy, Varun; Talbot, Joey; Steege, Hans ter; Terborgh, John; Thomas, Raquel; Toledo, Marisol; Torres-Lezama, Armando; Gamarra, Luis Valenzuela; Heijden, Geertje van der; Meer, Peter van der; Hout, Peter van der; Martinez, Rodolfo Vasquez; Vieira, Simone Aparecida; Cayo, Jeanneth Villalobos; Vos, Vincent; Zagt, Roderick; Zuidema, Pieter; Galbraith, David

Summary

The carbon sink capacity of tropical forests is substantially affected by tree mortality. However, the main drivers of tropical tree death remain largely unknown. Here we present a pan-Amazonian assessment of how and why trees die, analysing over 120,000 trees representing > 3800 species from 189 long-term RAINFOR forest plots. While tree mortality rates vary greatly Amazon-wide, on average trees are as likely to die standing as they are broken or uprooted—modes of death with different ecological consequences. Species-level growth rate is the single most important predictor of tree death in Amazonia, with faster-growing species being at higher risk. Within species, however, the slowest-growing trees are at greatest risk while the effect of tree size varies across the basin. In the driest Amazonian region species-level bioclimatic distributional patterns also predict the risk of death, suggesting that these forests are experiencing climatic conditions beyond their adaptative limits. These results provide not only a holistic pan-Amazonian picture of tree death but large-scale evidence for the overarching importance of the growth–survival trade-off in driving tropical tree mortality.