Drought and the interannual variability of stem growth in an aseasonal, everwet forest

J. Aaron Hogan, Sean M. McMahon, Vanessa Buzzard, Sean T. Michaletz, Brian Enquist, Jill Thompson, Nathan G. Swenson, Jess K. Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Linking drought to the timing of physiological processes governing tree growth remains one limitation in forecasting climate change effects on tropical trees. Using dendrometers, we measured fine-scale growth for 96 trees of 25 species from 2013 to 2016 in an everwet forest in Puerto Rico. Rainfall over this time span varied, including an unusual, severe El Niño drought in 2015. We assessed how growing season onset, median day, conclusion, and length varied with absolute growth rate and tree size over time. Stem growth was seasonal, beginning in February, peaking in July, and ending in November. Species growth rates varied between 0 and 8 mm/year and correlated weakly with specific leaf area, leaf phosphorus, and leaf nitrogen, and to a lesser degree with wood specific gravity and plant height. Drought and tree growth were decoupled, and drought lengthened and increased variation in growing season length. During the 2015 drought, many trees terminated growth early but did not necessarily grow less. In the year following drought, trees grew more over a shorter growing season, with many smaller trees showing a post-drought increase in growth. We attribute the increased growth of smaller trees to release from light limitation as the canopy thinned because of the drought, and less inferred hydraulic stress than larger trees during drought. Soil type accounted for interannual and interspecific differences, with the finest Zarzal clays reducing tree growth. We conclude that drought affects the phenological timing of tree growth and favors the post-drought growth of smaller, sub-canopy trees in this everwet forest. Abstract in Spanish is available with online material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-154
Number of pages16
JournalBiotropica
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Fingerprint

stem elongation
drought
stem
tree growth
growing season
dendrometers
canopy
Puerto Rico
specific gravity
forest trees
leaves
soil types
fluid mechanics
leaf area
clay
soil type
climate change
rain
phosphorus
gravity

Keywords

  • allocation
  • Aseasonal
  • dendrometers
  • drought
  • interannual
  • Luquillo
  • phenology
  • tree growth
  • tropical forest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Hogan, J. A., McMahon, S. M., Buzzard, V., Michaletz, S. T., Enquist, B., Thompson, J., ... Zimmerman, J. K. (2019). Drought and the interannual variability of stem growth in an aseasonal, everwet forest. Biotropica, 51(2), 139-154. https://doi.org/10.1111/btp.12624

Drought and the interannual variability of stem growth in an aseasonal, everwet forest. / Hogan, J. Aaron; McMahon, Sean M.; Buzzard, Vanessa; Michaletz, Sean T.; Enquist, Brian; Thompson, Jill; Swenson, Nathan G.; Zimmerman, Jess K.

In: Biotropica, Vol. 51, No. 2, 01.03.2019, p. 139-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hogan, JA, McMahon, SM, Buzzard, V, Michaletz, ST, Enquist, B, Thompson, J, Swenson, NG & Zimmerman, JK 2019, 'Drought and the interannual variability of stem growth in an aseasonal, everwet forest', Biotropica, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 139-154. https://doi.org/10.1111/btp.12624
Hogan JA, McMahon SM, Buzzard V, Michaletz ST, Enquist B, Thompson J et al. Drought and the interannual variability of stem growth in an aseasonal, everwet forest. Biotropica. 2019 Mar 1;51(2):139-154. https://doi.org/10.1111/btp.12624
Hogan, J. Aaron ; McMahon, Sean M. ; Buzzard, Vanessa ; Michaletz, Sean T. ; Enquist, Brian ; Thompson, Jill ; Swenson, Nathan G. ; Zimmerman, Jess K. / Drought and the interannual variability of stem growth in an aseasonal, everwet forest. In: Biotropica. 2019 ; Vol. 51, No. 2. pp. 139-154.
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