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Height-diameter allometry of tropical forest trees

Feldpausch, TR, Banin, L, Phillips, OL, Baker, TR, Lewis, SL, Quesada, CA, Affum-Baffoe, K, Arets, EJMM, Berry, NJ and Bird, M (2011) Height-diameter allometry of tropical forest trees. Biogeosciences, 8 (5). 1081 - 1106 . ISSN 1726-4170

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Abstract

Tropical tree height-diameter (H:D) relationships may vary by forest type and region making large-scale estimates of above-ground biomass subject to bias if they ignore these differences in stem allometry. We have therefore developed a new global tropical forest database consisting of 39 955 concurrent H and D measurements encompassing 283 sites in 22 tropical countries. Utilising this database, our objectives were: 1. to determine if H:D relationships differ by geographic region and forest type (wet to dry forests, including zones of tension where forest and savanna overlap). 2. to ascertain if the H:D relationship is modulated by climate and/or forest structural characteristics (e.g. stand-level basal area, A). 3. to develop H:D allometric equations and evaluate biases to reduce error in future local-to-global estimates of tropical forest biomass. Annual precipitation coefficient of variation (PV), dry season length (SD), and mean annual air temperature (TA) emerged as key drivers of variation in H:D relationships at the pantropical and region scales. Vegetation structure also played a role with trees in forests of a high A being, on average, taller at any given D. After the effects of environment and forest structure are taken into account, two main regional groups can be identified. Forests in Asia, Africa and the Guyana Shield all have, on average, similar H:D relationships, but with trees in the forests of much of the Amazon Basin and tropical Australia typically being shorter at any given D than their counterparts elsewhere. The region-environment-structure model with the lowest Akaike's information criterion and lowest deviation estimated stand-level H across all plots to within amedian −2.7 to 0.9% of the true value. Some of the plot-to-plot variability in H:D relationships not accounted for by this model could be attributed to variations in soil physical conditions. Other things being equal, trees tend to be more slender in the absence of soil physical constraints, especially at smaller D. Pantropical and continental-level models provided less robust estimates of H, especially when the roles of climate and stand structure in modulating H:D allometry were not simultaneously taken into account.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2011 Feldpausch et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Keywords: Amazon rain-forest, elfin cloud forest, leaf gas-exchange, Montane forest, aboveground biomass, spatial-patterns, hydraulic architecture, altitudinal transect, environmental-change, neotropical forest
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2012 15:48
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2014 04:06
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-8-1081-2011
Status: Published
Publisher: European Geosciences Union & Copernicus Publications
Identification Number: 10.5194/bg-8-1081-2011
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43561

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