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Development of forest structure and leaf area in secondary forests regenerating on abandoned pastures in Central Amazonia

Feldpausch, TR, Riha, SJ, Fernandes, ECM and Wandelli, EV (2005) Development of forest structure and leaf area in secondary forests regenerating on abandoned pastures in Central Amazonia. Earth Interactions, 9. 1 - 22 . ISSN 1087-3562

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Abstract

The area of secondary forest (SF) regenerating from pastures is increasing in the Amazon basin; however, the return of forest and canopy structure following abandonment is not well understood. This study examined the development of leaf area index (LAI), canopy cover, aboveground biomass, stem density, diameter at breast height (DBH), and basal area ( BA) by growth form and diameter class for 10 SFs regenerating from abandoned pastures. Biomass accrual was tree dominated, constituting >= 94% of the total measured biomass in all forests abandoned >= 4 to 6 yr. Vine biomass increased with forest age, but its relative contribution to total biomass decreased with time. The forests were dominated by the tree Vismia spp. (> 50%). Tree stem density peaked after 6 to 8 yr ( 10 320 stems per hectare) before declining by 42% in the 12- to 14-yr-old SFs. Small-diameter tree stems in the 1-5-cm size class composed > 58% of the total stems for all forests. After 12 to 14 yr, there was no significant leaf area below 150-cm height. Leaf area return (LAI = 3.2 after 12 to 14 yr) relative to biomass was slower than literature-reported recovery following slash-and-burn, where LAI can reach primary forest levels ( LAI = 4 - 6) in 5 yr. After 12 to 14 yr, the colonizing vegetation returned some components of forest structure to values reported for primary forest. Basal area and LAI were 50% - 60%, canopy cover and stem density were nearly 100%, and the rapid tree-dominated biomass accrual was 25% - 50% of values reported for primary forest. Biomass accumulation may reach an asymptote earlier than expected because of even-aged, monospecific, untiered stand structure. The very slow leaf area accumulation relative to biomass and to reported values for recovery following slash-and-burn indicates a different canopy development pathway that warrants further investigation of causes ( e. g., nutrient limitations, competition) and effects on processes such as evapotranspiration and soil water uptake, which would influence long-term recovery rates and have regional implications.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © Copyright 2005 American Meteorological Society. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: Brazilian Amazon, land-use, deforestation, land-cover change, succession, Eastern Amazonia, aboveground biomass, plant succession, tierra-firm forest, Upper Rio Negro, burn agriculture, Rain-Forests, nutrient accumulation
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: 06 Jan 2012 13:16
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 16:00
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/EI140.1
Status: Published
Publisher: American Meteorological Society
Identification Number: 10.1175/EI140.1
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43566

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