Photosynthetic seasonality of global tropical forests constrained by hydroclimate

Kaiyu Guan, Ming Pan, Haibin Li, Adam Wolf, Jin Wu, David Medvigy, Kelly K. Caylor, Justin Sheffield, Eric F. Wood, Yadvinder Malhi, Miaoling Liang, John S. Kimball, Scott Saleska, Joe Berry, Joanna Joiner, Alexei I. Lyapustin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

139 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The response of tropical forests to droughts is highly uncertain. During the dry season, canopy photosynthesis of some tropical forests can decline, whereas in others it can be maintained at the same or a higher level than during the wet season. However, it remains uncertain to what extent water availability is responsible for productivity declines of tropical forests during the dry season. Here we use global satellite observations of two independent measures of vegetation photosynthetic properties (enhanced vegetation index from 2002 to 2012 and solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence from 2007 to 2012) to investigate links between hydroclimate and tropical forest productivity. We find that above an annual rainfall threshold of approximately 2,000 mm yr -1, the evergreen state is sustained during the dry season in tropical rainforests worldwide, whereas below that threshold, this is not the case. Through a water-budget analysis of precipitation, potential evapotranspiration and satellite measurements of water storage change, we demonstrate that this threshold determines whether the supply of seasonally redistributed subsurface water storage from the wet season can satisfy plant water demands in the subsequent dry season. We conclude that water availability exerts a first-order control on vegetation seasonality in tropical forests globally. Our framework can also help identify where tropical forests may be vulnerable or resilient to future hydroclimatic changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-289
Number of pages6
JournalNature Geoscience
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 4 2015

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tropical forest
seasonality
dry season
water storage
water availability
wet season
productivity
potential evapotranspiration
vegetation
vegetation index
water demand
rainforest
water budget
photosynthesis
chlorophyll
fluorescence
drought
canopy
rainfall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Guan, K., Pan, M., Li, H., Wolf, A., Wu, J., Medvigy, D., ... Lyapustin, A. I. (2015). Photosynthetic seasonality of global tropical forests constrained by hydroclimate. Nature Geoscience, 8(4), 284-289. https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2382

Photosynthetic seasonality of global tropical forests constrained by hydroclimate. / Guan, Kaiyu; Pan, Ming; Li, Haibin; Wolf, Adam; Wu, Jin; Medvigy, David; Caylor, Kelly K.; Sheffield, Justin; Wood, Eric F.; Malhi, Yadvinder; Liang, Miaoling; Kimball, John S.; Saleska, Scott; Berry, Joe; Joiner, Joanna; Lyapustin, Alexei I.

In: Nature Geoscience, Vol. 8, No. 4, 04.04.2015, p. 284-289.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Guan, K, Pan, M, Li, H, Wolf, A, Wu, J, Medvigy, D, Caylor, KK, Sheffield, J, Wood, EF, Malhi, Y, Liang, M, Kimball, JS, Saleska, S, Berry, J, Joiner, J & Lyapustin, AI 2015, 'Photosynthetic seasonality of global tropical forests constrained by hydroclimate', Nature Geoscience, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 284-289. https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2382
Guan, Kaiyu ; Pan, Ming ; Li, Haibin ; Wolf, Adam ; Wu, Jin ; Medvigy, David ; Caylor, Kelly K. ; Sheffield, Justin ; Wood, Eric F. ; Malhi, Yadvinder ; Liang, Miaoling ; Kimball, John S. ; Saleska, Scott ; Berry, Joe ; Joiner, Joanna ; Lyapustin, Alexei I. / Photosynthetic seasonality of global tropical forests constrained by hydroclimate. In: Nature Geoscience. 2015 ; Vol. 8, No. 4. pp. 284-289.
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