UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Seasonal drought limits tree species across the Neotropics

Esquivel-Muelbert, A; Baker, TR; Dexter, KG; Lewis, SL; ter Steege, H; Lopez-Gonzalez, G; Monteagudo Mendoza, A; ... Phillips, OL; + view all (2017) Seasonal drought limits tree species across the Neotropics. Ecography , 40 (5) pp. 618-629. 10.1111/ecog.01904. Green open access

[thumbnail of Muelbert et al 2016.pdf]
Preview
Text
Muelbert et al 2016.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (419kB) | Preview

Abstract

Within the tropics, the species richness of tree communities is strongly and positively associated with precipitation. Previous research has suggested that this macroecological pattern is driven by the negative effect of water‐stress on the physiological processes of most tree species. This implies that the range limits of taxa are defined by their ability to occur under dry conditions, and thus in terms of species distributions predicts a nested pattern of taxa distribution from wet to dry areas. However, this ‘dry‐tolerance’ hypothesis has yet to be adequately tested at large spatial and taxonomic scales. Here, using a dataset of 531 inventory plots of closed canopy forest distributed across the western Neotropics we investigated how precipitation, evaluated both as mean annual precipitation and as the maximum climatological water deficit, influences the distribution of tropical tree species, genera and families. We find that the distributions of tree taxa are indeed nested along precipitation gradients in the western Neotropics. Taxa tolerant to seasonal drought are disproportionally widespread across the precipitation gradient, with most reaching even the wettest climates sampled; however, most taxa analysed are restricted to wet areas. Our results suggest that the ‘dry tolerance' hypothesis has broad applicability in the world's most species‐rich forests. In addition, the large number of species restricted to wetter conditions strongly indicates that an increased frequency of drought could severely threaten biodiversity in this region. Overall, this study establishes a baseline for exploring how tropical forest tree composition may change in response to current and future environmental changes in this region.

Type: Article
Title: Seasonal drought limits tree species across the Neotropics
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ecog.01904
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.01904
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10062041
Downloads since deposit
27Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item