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Evolutionary diversity is associated with wood productivity in Amazonian forests

Coelho de Souza, Fernanda and Dexter, Kyle G and Phillips, Oliver L and Pennington, R Toby and Neves, Danilo and Sullivan, Martin JP and Alvarez-Davila, Esteban and Alves, Átila and Amaral, Ieda and Andrade, Ana and Aragao, Luis EOC and Araujo-Murakami, Alejandro and Arets, Eric JMM and Arroyo, Luzmilla and Aymard C., Gerardo A and Bánki, Olaf and Baraloto, Christopher and Barroso, Jorcely G and Boot, Rene GA and Brienen, Roel JW and Brown, Foster and Camargo, José Luís C and Castro, Wendeson and Chave, Jerome and Cogollo, Alvaro and Comiskey, James A and Cornejo-Valverde, Fernando and da Costa, Antonio Lola and de Camargo, Plínio B and Di Fiore, Anthony and Feldpausch, Ted R and Galbraith, David R and Gloor, Emanuel and Goodman, Rosa C and Gilpin, Martin and Herrera, Rafael and Higuchi, Niro and Honorio Coronado, Eurídice N and Jimenez-Rojas, Eliana and Killeen, Timothy J and Laurance, Susan and Laurance, William F and Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela and Lovejoy, Thomas E and Malhi, Yadvinder and Marimon, Beatriz S and Marimon-Junior, Ben Hur and Mendoza, Casimiro and Monteagudo-Mendoza, Abel and Neill, David A and Vargas, Percy Núñez and Peñuela Mora, Maria C and Pickavance, Georgia C and Pipoly, John J and Pitman, Nigel CA and Poorter, Lourens and Prieto, Adriana and Ramirez, Freddy and Roopsind, Anand and Rudas, Agustin and Salomão, Rafael P and Silva, Natalino and Silveira, Marcos and Singh, James and Stropp, Juliana and ter Steege, Hans and Terborgh, John and Thomas-Caesar, Raquel and Umetsu, Ricardo K and Vasquez, Rodolfo V and Célia-Vieira, Ima and Vieira, Simone A and Vos, Vincent A and Zagt, Roderick J and Baker, Timothy R (2019) Evolutionary diversity is associated with wood productivity in Amazonian forests. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2019.

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Abstract

Higher levels of taxonomic and evolutionary diversity are expected to maximize ecosystem function, yet their relative importance in driving variation in ecosystem function at large scales in diverse forests is unknown. Using 90 inventory plots across intact, lowland, terra firme, Amazonian forests and a new phylogeny including 526 angiosperm genera, we investigated the association between taxonomic and evolutionary metrics of diversity and two key measures of ecosystem function: aboveground wood productivity and biomass storage. While taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity were not important predictors of variation in biomass, both emerged as independent predictors of wood productivity. Amazon forests that contain greater evolutionary diversity and a higher proportion of rare species have higher productivity. While climatic and edaphic variables are together the strongest predictors of productivity, our results show that the evolutionary diversity of tree species in diverse forest stands also influences productivity. As our models accounted for wood density and tree size, they also suggest that additional, unstudied, evolutionarily correlated traits have significant effects on ecosystem function in tropical forests. Overall, our pan-Amazonian analysis shows that greater phylogenetic diversity translates into higher levels of ecosystem function: tropical forest communities with more distantly related taxa have greater wood productivity.

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