Stand dynamics modulate water cycling and mortality risk in droughted tropical forest
da Costa, ACL
Global Change Biology
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Reason for embargo
Transpiration from the Amazon rainforest generates an essential water source at a global and local scale. However, changes in rainforest function with climate change can disrupt this process, causing significant reductions in precipitation across Amazonia, and potentially at a global scale. We report the only study of forest transpiration following a long-term (>10 year) experimental drought treatment in Amazonian forest. After 15 years of receiving half the normal rainfall, drought-related tree mortality caused total forest transpiration to decrease by 30%. However, the surviving droughted trees maintained or increased transpiration because of reduced competition for water and increased light availability, which is consistent with increased growth rates. Consequently, the amount of water supplied as rainfall reaching the soil and directly recycled as transpiration increased to 100%. This value was 25% greater than for adjacent nondroughted forest. If these drought conditions were accompanied by a modest increase in temperature (e.g., 1.5°C), water demand would exceed supply, making the forest more prone to increased tree mortality.
This work is a product of UK NERC grant NE/J011002/1 to PM and MM, CNPQ grant 457914/2013-0/MCTI/CNPq/FNDCT/LBA/ESECAFLOR to ACLD, an ARC grant FT110100457 to PM and a UK NERC independent fellowship grant NE/N014022/1 to LR. It was previously supported by NERC NER/A/S/2002/00487, NERC GR3/11706, EU FP5-Carbonsink and EU FP7-Amazalert to PM. RP acknowledges support of MINECO (Spain), grant CGL2014-5583-JIN.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
Published online 28 July 2017