sPlot – A new tool for global vegetation analyses

Bruelheide H., Dengler J., Jiménez-Alfaro B., Purschke O., Hennekens S.M., Chytrý M., Pillar V.D., Jansen F., Kattge J., Sandel B., Aubin I., Biurrun I., Field R., Haider S., Jandt U., Lenoir J., Peet R.K., Peyre G., Sabatini F.M., Schmidt M., Schrodt F., Winter M., Aćić S., Agrillo E., Alvarez M., Ambarlı D., Angelini P., Apostolova I., Arfin Khan M.A.S., Arnst E., Attorre F., Baraloto C., Beckmann M., Berg C., Bergeron Y., Bergmeier E., Bjorkman A.D., Bondareva V., Borchardt P., Botta-Dukát Z., Boyle B., Breen A., Brisse H., Byun C., Cabido M.R., Casella L., Cayuela L., Černý T., Chepinoga V., Csiky J., Curran M., Ćušterevska R., Dajić Stevanović Z., De Bie E., de Ruffray P., De Sanctis M., Dimopoulos P., Dressler S., Ejrnæs R., El-Sheikh M.A.E.-R.M., Enquist B., Ewald J., Fagúndez J., Finckh M., Font X., Forey E., Fotiadis G., García-Mijangos I., de Gasper A.L., Golub V., Gutierrez A.G., Hatim M.Z., He T., Higuchi P., Holubová D., Hölzel N., Homeier J., Indreica A., Işık Gürsoy D., Jansen S., Janssen J., Jedrzejek B., Jiroušek M., Jürgens N., Kącki Z., Kavgacı A., Kearsley E., Kessler M., Knollová I., Kolomiychuk V., Korolyuk A., Kozhevnikova M., Kozub Ł., Krstonošić D., Kühl H., Kühn I., Kuzemko A., Küzmič F., Landucci F., Lee M.T., Levesley A., Li C.-F., Liu H., Lopez-Gonzalez G., Lysenko T., Macanović A., Mahdavi P., Manning P., Marcenò C., Martynenko V., Mencuccini M., Minden V., Moeslund J.E., Moretti M., Müller J.V., Munzinger J., Niinemets Ü., Nobis M., Noroozi J., Nowak A., Onyshchenko V., Overbeck G.E., Ozinga W.A., Pauchard A., Pedashenko H., Peñuelas J., Pérez-Haase A., Peterka T., Petřík P., Phillips O.L., Prokhorov V., Rašomavičius V., Revermann R., Rodwell J., Ruprecht E., Rūsiņa S., Samimi C., Schaminée J.H.J., Schmiedel U., Šibík J., Šilc U., Škvorc Ž., Smyth A., Sop T., Sopotlieva D., Sparrow B., Stančić Z., Svenning J.-C., Swacha G., Tang Z., Tsiripidis I., Turtureanu P.D., Uğurlu E., Uogintas D., Valachovič M., Vanselow K.A., Vashenyak Y., Vassilev K., Vélez-Martin E., Venanzoni R., Vibrans A.C., Violle C., Virtanen R., von Wehrden H., Wagner V., Walker D.A., Wana D., Weiher E., Wesche K., Whitfeld T., Willner W., Wiser S., Wohlgemuth T., Yamalov S., Zizka G., Zverev A. (2019) sPlot – A new tool for global vegetation analyses. Journal of Vegetation Science. 30: 161-186.
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Doi: 10.1111/jvs.12710

Resumen:

Aims: Vegetation-plot records provide information on the presence and cover or abundance of plants co-occurring in the same community. Vegetation-plot data are spread across research groups, environmental agencies and biodiversity research centers and, thus, are rarely accessible at continental or global scales. Here we present the sPlot database, which collates vegetation plots worldwide to allow for the exploration of global patterns in taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity at the plant community level. Results: sPlot version 2.1 contains records from 1,121,244 vegetation plots, which comprise 23,586,216 records of plant species and their relative cover or abundance in plots collected worldwide between 1885 and 2015. We complemented the information for each plot by retrieving climate and soil conditions and the biogeographic context (e.g., biomes) from external sources, and by calculating community-weighted means and variances of traits using gap-filled data from the global plant trait database TRY. Moreover, we created a phylogenetic tree for 50,167 out of the 54,519 species identified in the plots. We present the first maps of global patterns of community richness and community-weighted means of key traits. Conclusions: The availability of vegetation plot data in sPlot offers new avenues for vegetation analysis at the global scale. © 2019 International Association for Vegetation Science

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Temperature and masting control Norway spruce growth, but with high individual tree variability

Hacket-Pain A., Ascoli D., Berretti R., Mencuccini M., Motta R., Nola P., Piussi P., Ruffinatto F., Vacchiano G. (2019) Temperature and masting control Norway spruce growth, but with high individual tree variability. Forest Ecology and Management. 438: 142-150.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2019.02.014

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Tree growth and reproduction are subject to trade-offs in resource allocation. At the same time, they are both influenced by climate. In this study, we combined long records of reproductive effort at the individual- (29 years), population- (41 years) and regional (up to 53 years) scale, and tree ring chronologies, to investigate the effects of climate and reproductive allocation on radial growth in an Alpine Norway spruce forest. Seed and cone production was highly variable between years (mean individual CV = 1.39, population CV = 1.19), but showed high reproductive synchrony between individuals (mean inter-tree correlation = 0.72). No long-term trend in reproductive effort was detected over four decades of observations. At the stand scale, cone production was dominated by a small number of individuals (“super-producers”), who remained dominant over three decades. Individual tree growth responded positively to summer temperature, but the response to cone production varied between individual trees. Consequently, we found some evidence that mast years were associated with a divergence in growth between high and low cone producing individuals, and a decline in within-population growth synchrony. At the population level we found limited evidence of a relationship between growth and reproduction. Radial growth was lower than average in some mast years, but not in others. This was partly explained by summer temperature during the year of growth, with growth reductions restricted to mast years that coincided with colder than average summers. Regional mast records and tree ring chronologies provided some support to indicate that our results were consistent in other spruce stands, although the effect of mast years on growth appeared to vary between sites. Tree ring variation at the individual and population level, and between-tree growth synchrony are influenced by masting, and consequently dendrochronologists should consider both the occurrence of masting and the individual differences in reproductive effort when interpreting tree ring datasets. Our results also indicate that tree ring chronologies contain information to facilitate reconstruction of mast events, which will help address outstanding questions regarding the future response of masting to climate change. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.

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Modelling water fluxes in plants: from tissues to biosphere

Mencuccini M., Manzoni S., Christoffersen B. (2019) Modelling water fluxes in plants: from tissues to biosphere. New Phytologist. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1111/nph.15681

Resumen:

Models of plant water fluxes have evolved from studies focussed on understanding the detailed structure and functioning of specific components of the soil–plant–atmosphere (SPA) continuum to architectures often incorporated inside eco-hydrological and terrestrial biosphere (TB) model schemes. We review here the historical evolution of this field, examine the basic structure of a simplified individual-based model of plant water transport, highlight selected applications for specific ecological problems and conclude by examining outstanding issues requiring further improvements in modelling vegetation water fluxes. We particularly emphasise issues related to the scaling from tissue-level traits to individual-based predictions of water transport, the representation of nonlinear and hysteretic behaviour in soil–xylem hydraulics and the need to incorporate knowledge of hydraulics within broader frameworks of plant ecological strategies and their consequences for predicting community demography and dynamics. © 2019 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2019 New Phytologist Trust

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Exceptionally high mangrove root production rates in the Kelantan Delta, Malaysia; An experimental and comparative study

Muhammad-Nor S.M., Huxham M., Salmon Y., Duddy S.J., Mazars-Simon A., Mencuccini M., Meir P., Jackson G. (2019) Exceptionally high mangrove root production rates in the Kelantan Delta, Malaysia; An experimental and comparative study. Forest Ecology and Management. 444: 214-224.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2019.04.026

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Mangroves often allocate a relatively large proportion of their total biomass production to their roots, and the belowground biomass of these forests contributes towards globally significant carbon sinks. However, little information is available on root production in mangroves due to the difficulties in carrying out measurements of belowground processes, particularly if there is regular flooding. In this study, we examined fine and coarse root production in the east coast of the Malaysian Peninsula. Ingrowth cores were used over the course of 17 months. In September 2014, twenty cores were randomly placed in each of five plots. Three cores were collected from each plot (fifteen cores in total), once every three months. Each core was divided into five 10 cm layers and root dry mass was recorded. Standing root biomass was also measured at the time of final collection using an additional 15 cores. There was a seasonal pattern in root production, which peaked in March and December 2015, after and during the monsoon season. Root biomass in the cores peaked at 33.23 ± 6.3 t ha −1 and 21.46 ± 7.3 t ha −1 in March and December respectively. Standing root biomass in February 2016 in the forest was 20.81 ± 2.8 t ha −1 . After 17 months, the final root biomass in the cores was 14% less than the standing root biomass. These data suggest surprisingly rapid growth rates and turnover for mangrove roots. Total root biomass significantly increased with root depth and 78% of the roots, in all soil layers, consisted of fine roots (<3 mm diameter). Soil carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations were investigated in relation to belowground production, as were soil temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen. A data review of global studies reporting similar work was carried out. The results are discussed with consideration to the significance of monsoon rainfall for mangrove ecology. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.

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Xylem hydraulic safety and construction costs determine tropical tree growth

B. Eller, C., de V. Barros, F., R.L. Bittencourt, P., Rowland, L., Mencuccini, M., S. Oliveira, R. (2018) Xylem hydraulic safety and construction costs determine tropical tree growth. Plant Cell and Environment. 41: 548-562.
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Doi: 10.1111/pce.13106

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Global trait–environment relationships of plant communities

Bruelheide H., Dengler J., Purschke O., Lenoir J., Jiménez-Alfaro B., Hennekens S.M., Botta-Dukát Z., Chytrý M., Field R., Jansen F., Kattge J., Pillar V.D., Schrodt F., Mahecha M.D., Peet R.K., Sandel B., van Bodegom P., Altman J., Alvarez-Dávila E., Arfin Khan M.A.S., Attorre F., Aubin I., Baraloto C., Barroso J.G., Bauters M., Bergmeier E., Biurrun I., Bjorkman A.D., Blonder B., Čarni A., Cayuela L., Černý T., Cornelissen J.H.C., Craven D., Dainese M., Derroire G., De Sanctis M., Díaz S., Doležal J., Farfan-Rios W., Feldpausch T.R., Fenton N.J., Garnier E., Guerin G.R., Gutiérrez A.G., Haider S., Hattab T., Henry G., Hérault B., Higuchi P., Hölzel N., Homeier J., Jentsch A., Jürgens N., Kącki Z., Karger D.N., Kessler M., Kleyer M., Knollová I., Korolyuk A.Y., Kühn I., Laughlin D.C., Lens F., Loos J., Louault F., Lyubenova M.I., Malhi Y., Marcenò C., Mencuccini M., Müller J.V., Munzinger J., Myers-Smith I.H., Neill D.A., Niinemets Ü., Orwin K.H., Ozinga W.A., Penuelas J., Pérez-Haase A., Petřík P., Phillips O.L., Pärtel M., Reich P.B., Römermann C., Rodrigues A.V., Sabatini F.M., Sardans J., Schmidt M., Seidler G., Silva Espejo J.E., Silveira M., Smyth A., Sporbert M., Svenning J.-C., Tang Z., Thomas R., Tsiripidis I., Vassilev K., Violle C., Virtanen R., Weiher E., Welk E., Wesche K., Winter M., Wirth C., Jandt U. (2018) Global trait–environment relationships of plant communities. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 2: 1906-1917.
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Doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0699-8

Resumen:

Plant functional traits directly affect ecosystem functions. At the species level, trait combinations depend on trade-offs representing different ecological strategies, but at the community level trait combinations are expected to be decoupled from these trade-offs because different strategies can facilitate co-existence within communities. A key question is to what extent community-level trait composition is globally filtered and how well it is related to global versus local environmental drivers. Here, we perform a global, plot-level analysis of trait–environment relationships, using a database with more than 1.1 million vegetation plots and 26,632 plant species with trait information. Although we found a strong filtering of 17 functional traits, similar climate and soil conditions support communities differing greatly in mean trait values. The two main community trait axes that capture half of the global trait variation (plant stature and resource acquisitiveness) reflect the trade-offs at the species level but are weakly associated with climate and soil conditions at the global scale. Similarly, within-plot trait variation does not vary systematically with macro-environment. Our results indicate that, at fine spatial grain, macro-environmental drivers are much less important for functional trait composition than has been assumed from floristic analyses restricted to co-occurrence in large grid cells. Instead, trait combinations seem to be predominantly filtered by local-scale factors such as disturbance, fine-scale soil conditions, niche partitioning and biotic interactions. © 2018, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

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Modelling tropical forest responses to drought and El Niño with a stomatal optimization model based on xylem hydraulics

Eller C.B., Rowland L., Oliveira R.S., Bittencourt P.R.L., Barros F.V., Da Costa A.C.L., Meir P., Friend A.D., Mencuccini M., Sitch S., Cox P. (2018) Modelling tropical forest responses to drought and El Niño with a stomatal optimization model based on xylem hydraulics. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 373: 0-0.
Enlace
Doi: 10.1098/rstb.2017.0315

Resumen:

The current generation of dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs) lacks a mechanistic representation of vegetation responses to soil drought, impairing their ability to accurately predict Earth system responses to future climate scenarios and climatic anomalies, such as El Niño events. We propose a simple numerical approach to model plant responses to drought coupling stomatal optimality theory and plant hydraulics that can be used in dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs). The model is validated against stand-scale forest transpiration (E) observations from a long-term soil drought experiment and used to predict the response of three Amazonian forest sites to climatic anomalies during the twentieth century. We show that our stomatal optimization model produces realistic stomatal responses to environmental conditions and can accurately simulate how tropical forest E responds to seasonal, and even long-term soil drought. Our model predicts a stronger cumulative effect of climatic anomalies in Amazon forest sites exposed to soil drought during El Niño years than can be captured by alternative empirical drought representation schemes. The contrasting responses between our model and empirical drought factors highlight the utility of hydraulically-based stomatal optimization models to represent vegetation responses to drought and climatic anomalies in DGVMs. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘The impact of the 2015/2016 El Niño on the terrestrial tropical carbon cycle: patterns, mechanisms and implications’. © 2018 The Authors.

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Estimating Carbon Avoided from the Implementation of Reduced-Impact Logging in Sabah, Malaysia

Galante M.V., Pinard M.A., Mencuccini M. (2018) Estimating Carbon Avoided from the Implementation of Reduced-Impact Logging in Sabah, Malaysia. International Forestry Review. 20: 58-78.
Enlace
Doi: 10.1505/146554818822824192

Resumen:

The objective of this study was to investigate the design and application of a carbon baseline for commercial timber harvest activities involving conventional timber harvest activities (CNV), relative to reduced-impact logging (RIL) in Sabah, Malaysia. As only RIL is eligible to be practiced in production forests, a baseline of CNV was estimated from the literature. The principle of net present value was applied to the post-harvest accumulation of carbon stocks after RIL to model a conservative 'crediting' baseline. Two areas representing opposite ends of a range of anthropogenic disturbance were sampled, with an old growth lower montane forest, and a lowland severely logged-over dipterocarp forest investigated before-, and two- and three-years after harvest, respectively. Areas impacted by CNV were estimated to contain 12-39% of pre-harvest carbon stock, relative to 57-63% under RIL and estimated to accumulate carbon in the range of 0.68-1.25 tC ha-1 yr1, averaging 14-55 years for recovery; in-line with body of knowledge. While the main limitation was our inability measure CNV directly, a balance of understanding is required for the development of a 'best estimate' using the literature. © 2018 Commonwealth Forestry Association. All rights reserved.

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Tree size and climatic water deficit control root to shoot ratio in individual trees globally

Ledo, A., Paul, K.I., Burslem, D.F.R.P., Ewel, J.J., Barton, C., Battaglia, M., Brooksbank, K., Carter, J., Eid, T.H., England, J.R., Fitzgerald, A., Jonson, J., Mencuccini, M., Montagu, K.D., Montero, G., Mugasha, W.A., Pinkard, E., Roxburgh, S., Ryan, C.M., Ruiz-Peinado, R., Sochacki, S., Specht, A., Wildy, D., Wirth, C., Zerihun, A., Chave, J. (2018) Tree size and climatic water deficit control root to shoot ratio in individual trees globally. New Phytologist. 217: 8-11.
Enlace
Doi: 10.1111/nph.14863

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Preliminary growth functions for Eucalyptus gunnii in the UK

Leslie, A.D., Mencuccini, M., Perks, M.P. (2018) Preliminary growth functions for Eucalyptus gunnii in the UK. Biomass and Bioenergy. 108: 464-469.
Enlace
Doi: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2017.10.037

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