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Tree mode of death and mortality risk factors across Amazon forests

Esquivel-Muelbert, Adriane and Phillips, Oliver L and Brienen, Roel JW and Fauset, Sophie and Sullivan, Martin JP and Baker, Timothy R and Chao, Kuo-Jung and Feldpausch, Ted R and Gloor, Emanuel and Higuchi, Niro and Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanne and Lloyd, Jon and Liu, Haiyan and Malhi, Yadvinder and Marimon, Beatriz and Marimon Junior, Ben Hur and Monteagudo-Mendoza, Abel and Poorter, Lourens and Silveira, Marcos and Torre, Emilio Vilanova and Dávila, Esteban Alvarez and del Aguila Pasquel, Jhon and Almeida, Everton and Loayza, Patricia Alvarez and Andrade, Ana and Aragão, Luiz EOC and Araujo-Murakami, Alejandro and Arets, Eric and Arroyo, Luzmila and Aymard C., Gerardo A and Baisie, Michel and Baraloto, Christopher and Camargo, Plínio Barbosa and Barroso, Jorcely and Blanc, Lilian and Bonal, Damien and Bongers, Frans and Boot, René and Brown, Foster and Burban, Benoit and Camargo, José Luís and Castro, Wendeson and Moscoso, Victor Chama and Chave, Jerome and Comiskey, James and Valverde, Fernando Cornejo and da Costa, Antonio Lola and Cardozo, Nallaret Davila and Di Fiore, Anthony and Dourdain, Aurélie and Erwin, Terry and Llampazo, Gerardo Flores and Vieira, Ima Célia Guimarães and Herrera, Rafael and Honorio Coronado, Eurídice and Huamantupa-Chuquimaco, Isau and Jimenez-Rojas, Eliana and Killeen, Timothy and Laurance, Susan and Laurance, William and Levesley, Aurora and Lewis, Simon L and Ladvocat, Karina Liana Lisboa Melgaço and Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela and Lovejoy, Thomas and Meir, Patrick and Mendoza, Casimiro and Morandi, Paulo and Neill, David and Nogueira Lima, Adriano José and Vargas, Percy Nuñez and de Oliveira, Edmar Almeida and Camacho, Nadir Pallqui and Pardo, Guido and Peacock, Julie and Peña-Claros, Marielos and Peñuela-Mora, Maria Cristina and Pickavance, Georgia and Pipoly, John and Pitman, Nigel and Prieto, Adriana and Pugh, Thomas AM and Quesada, Carlos and Ramirez-Angulo, Hirma and de Almeida Reis, Simone Matias and Rejou-Machain, Maxime and Correa, Zorayda Restrepo and Bayona, Lily Rodriguez and Rudas, Agustín and Salomão, Rafael and Serrano, Julio and Espejo, Javier Silva and Silva, Natalino and Singh, James and Stahl, Clement and Stropp, Juliana and Swamy, Varun and Talbot, Joey and ter Steege, Hans and Terborgh, John and Thomas, Raquel and Toledo, Marisol and Torres-Lezama, Armando and Gamarra, Luis Valenzuela and van der Heijden, Geertje and van der Meer, Peter and van der Hout, Peter and Martinez, Rodolfo Vasquez and Vieira, Simone Aparecida and Cayo, Jeanneth Villalobos and Vos, Vincent and Zagt, Roderick and Zuidema, Pieter and Galbraith, David (2020) Tree mode of death and mortality risk factors across Amazon forests. Nature Communications, 11 (1).

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Abstract

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

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