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Drier tropical forests are susceptible to functional changes in response to a long-term drought

Aguirre-Gutiérrez, J; Oliveras, I; Rifai, S; Fauset, S; Adu-Bredu, S; Affum-Baffoe, K; Baker, TR; ... Malhi, Y; + view all (2019) Drier tropical forests are susceptible to functional changes in response to a long-term drought. Ecology Letters 10.1111/ele.13243. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Climatic changes have profound effects on the distribution of biodiversity, but untangling the links between climatic change and ecosystem functioning is challenging, particularly in high diversity systems such as tropical forests. Tropical forests may also show different responses to a changing climate, with baseline climatic conditions potentially inducing differences in the strength and timing of responses to droughts. Trait-based approaches provide an opportunity to link functional composition, ecosystem function and environmental changes. We demonstrate the power of such approaches by presenting a novel analysis of long-term responses of different tropical forest to climatic changes along a rainfall gradient. We explore how key ecosystem's biogeochemical properties have shifted over time as a consequence of multi-decadal drying. Notably, we find that drier tropical forests have increased their deciduous species abundance and generally changed more functionally than forests growing in wetter conditions, suggesting an enhanced ability to adapt ecologically to a drying environment.

Type: Article
Title: Drier tropical forests are susceptible to functional changes in response to a long-term drought
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13243
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13243
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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/10070122
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