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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-332
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-332
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  28 Sep 2020

28 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Factors controlling the productivity of tropical Andean forests: Climate and soil are more important than tree diversity

Jürgen Homeier1,2 and Christoph Leuschner1,2 Jürgen Homeier and Christoph Leuschner
  • 1Plant Ecology and Ecosystems Research, University of Goettingen, Untere Karspüle 2, 37073 Goettingen, Germany
  • 2Centre for Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use, University of Goettingen, Untere Karspüle 2, 37073 Goettingen, Germany

Abstract. Theory predicts positive effects of species richness on the productivity of plant communities through complementary resource use and facilitative interactions between species. Results from manipulative experiments with tropical tree species indicate a positive diversity-productivity relationship (DPR), but the existing evidence from natural forests is scarce and contradictory. We studied forest aboveground productivity in more than 80 humid tropical montane old-growth forests in two highly diverse Andean regions with large geological and topographic heterogeneity, and related productivity to tree diversity and stand structural, edaphic and climatic factors with likely influence on productivity. Main determinants of aboveground productivity in the perhumid study regions were elevation (as a proxy of temperature), soil nutrient (N, P and base cation) availability, and forest structural parameters (wood specific gravity, aboveground biomass). Tree diversity had only a small positive influence on productivity, even though tree species numbers varied largely (6–27 species per 0.04 ha). We conclude that the productivity of Neotropical humid montane forests is primarily controlled by thermal, edaphic and stand structural factors, while tree diversity is of minor importance.

Jürgen Homeier and Christoph Leuschner

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Jürgen Homeier and Christoph Leuschner

Jürgen Homeier and Christoph Leuschner

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