Articles | Volume 12, issue 19
Biogeosciences, 12, 5583–5596, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-5583-2015
Biogeosciences, 12, 5583–5596, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-5583-2015

Research article 01 Oct 2015

Research article | 01 Oct 2015

Identifying climatic drivers of tropical forest dynamics

M. Aubry-Kientz1, V. Rossi2,3,4, F. Wagner2,5, and B. Hérault2 M. Aubry-Kientz et al.
  • 1Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, UMR Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane, Campus agronomique de Kourou, Kourou, France
  • 2CIRAD, UMR Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane, Campus agronomique de Kourou, Kourou, France
  • 3CIRAD, UPR Bsef, Montpellier, France
  • 4Université de Yaoundé I, UMMISCO (UMI209), BP337, Yaoundé, Cameroon
  • 5Remote sensing division, National Institute for Space Research-INPE, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil

Abstract. In the context of climate change, identifying and then predicting the impacts of climatic drivers on tropical forest dynamics is becoming a matter of urgency. To look at these climate impacts, we used a coupled model of tropical tree growth and mortality, calibrated with forest dynamic data from the 20-year study site of Paracou, French Guiana, in order to introduce and test a set of climatic variables. Three major climatic drivers were identified through the variable selection procedure: drought, water saturation and temperature. Drought decreased annual growth and mortality rates, high precipitation increased mortality rates and high temperature decreased growth. Interactions between key functional traits, stature and climatic variables were investigated, showing best resistance to drought for trees with high wood density and for trees with small current diameters. Our results highlighted strong long-term impacts of climate variables on tropical forest dynamics, suggesting potential deep impacts of climate changes during the next century.

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We used a forest dynamic model, calibrated with data from the 20-year study site of Paracou, French Guiana, to test a set of climatic variables on tree growth and mortality probabilities. Severe droughts decreased annual growth and mortality rates, high precipitation increased mortality rates and high temperature decreased tree growth. Best resistance to drought was found for trees with high wood density and for trees with small current diameters.
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