Decelerating growth in tropical forest trees

Kenneth Feeley, S. Joseph Wright, M. N. Nur Supardi, Abd Rahman Kassim, Stuart J. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

193 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The impacts of global change on tropical forests remain poorly understood. We examined changes in tree growth rates over the past two decades for all species occurring in large (50-ha) forest dynamics plots in Panama and Malaysia. Stem growth rates declined significantly at both forests regardless of initial size or organizational level (species, community or stand). Decreasing growth rates were widespread, occurring in 24-71% of species at Barro Colorado Island, Panama (BCI) and in 58-95% of species at Pasoh, Malaysia (depending on the sizes of stems included). Changes in growth were not consistently associated with initial growth rate, adult stature, or wood density. Changes in growth were significantly associated with regional climate changes: at both sites growth was negatively correlated with annual mean daily minimum temperatures, and at BCI growth was positively correlated with annual precipitation and number of rainfree days (a measure of relative insolation). While the underlying cause(s) of decelerating growth is still unresolved, these patterns strongly contradict the hypothesized pantropical increase in tree growth rates caused by carbon fertilization. Decelerating tree growth will have important economic and environmental implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-469
Number of pages9
JournalEcology Letters
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Panama
forest trees
tree growth
tropical forests
tropical forest
Malaysia
wood density
stem elongation
global change
solar radiation
stem
climate change
economics
stems
forest dynamics
carbon
insolation
regional climate
temperature

Keywords

  • Carbon cycling
  • Carbon fertilization
  • Climate change
  • Forest dynamics
  • Tree growth rates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Feeley, K., Joseph Wright, S., Nur Supardi, M. N., Kassim, A. R., & Davies, S. J. (2007). Decelerating growth in tropical forest trees. Ecology Letters, 10(6), 461-469. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2007.01033.x

Decelerating growth in tropical forest trees. / Feeley, Kenneth; Joseph Wright, S.; Nur Supardi, M. N.; Kassim, Abd Rahman; Davies, Stuart J.

In: Ecology Letters, Vol. 10, No. 6, 01.06.2007, p. 461-469.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Feeley, K, Joseph Wright, S, Nur Supardi, MN, Kassim, AR & Davies, SJ 2007, 'Decelerating growth in tropical forest trees', Ecology Letters, vol. 10, no. 6, pp. 461-469. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2007.01033.x
Feeley K, Joseph Wright S, Nur Supardi MN, Kassim AR, Davies SJ. Decelerating growth in tropical forest trees. Ecology Letters. 2007 Jun 1;10(6):461-469. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2007.01033.x
Feeley, Kenneth ; Joseph Wright, S. ; Nur Supardi, M. N. ; Kassim, Abd Rahman ; Davies, Stuart J. / Decelerating growth in tropical forest trees. In: Ecology Letters. 2007 ; Vol. 10, No. 6. pp. 461-469.
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