Drought stress and tree size determine stem CO2 efflux in a tropical forest
da Costa, A
Wiley for New Phytologist Trust
© 2018 The Authors New Phytologist © 2018 New Phytologist Trust This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
1. CO2 efflux from stems (CO2_stem) accounts for a substantial fraction of tropical forest gross primary productivity, but the climate sensitivity of this flux remains poorly understood. 2. We present a study of tropical forest CO2_stem from 215 trees across wet and dry seasons, at the world’s longest running tropical forest drought experiment site. 3. We show a 27% increase in wet season CO2_stem in the droughted forest relative to a control forest. This was driven by increasing CO2_stem in trees 10-40 cm diameter. Furthermore, we show that drought increases the proportion of maintenance to growth respiration in trees >20 cm diameter, including large increases in maintenance respiration in the largest droughted trees, >40 cm diameter. However, we found no clear taxonomic influence on CO2_stem and were unable to accurately predict how drought sensitivity altered ecosystem scale CO2_stem, due to substantial uncertainty introduced by contrasting methods previously employed to scale CO2_stem fluxes. 4. Our findings indicate that under future scenarios of elevated drought, increases in CO2_stem may augment carbon losses, weakening or potentially reversing the tropical forest carbon sink. However, due to substantial uncertainties in scaling CO2_stem fluxes, stand-scale future estimates of changes in stem CO2 emissions remain highly uncertain.
This work is a product of a UK NERC independent fellowship grant NE/N014022/1 to LR, a 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. It was previously supported by NERC NER/A/S/2002/00487, NERC GR3/11706, EU FP5-Carbonsink and EU FP7-Amazalert to PM. LR would also like to acknowledge the support of Dr. Robert Clement, University of Edinburgh and Dr. Timothy Hill, University of Exeter, alongside the contribution of three anonymous reviewers.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley for New Phytologist Trust via the DOI in this record.
Published online 3 February 2018