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Variation of forest ecosystems with elevation: insights from a 3500 m elevation gradient in the Andes The Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystems Research Group.

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Presentation on theme: "Variation of forest ecosystems with elevation: insights from a 3500 m elevation gradient in the Andes The Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystems Research Group."— Presentation transcript:

1 Variation of forest ecosystems with elevation: insights from a 3500 m elevation gradient in the Andes The Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystems Research Group (ABERG) Y. Malhi, M. Silman, P. Meir, K. Feeley, N. Salinas, S. Saatchi, M. Bird L. Aragao, C. Girardin, J. Fisher, T. Marthews, D. Metcalfe, J. Espejo, W. Farfan, K. Garcia, A. Nottingham, J. Whittaker, M. Zimmerman, K. Feeley, J. Rapp. J. Lloyd, R. Guerreri, O. Atkin and many more University of Oxford UK, Wake Forest University USA, University of Edinburgh UK, Univesidad San Antonio Abad,Cuzco, Peru Pontoficia Universidad de Lima, Peru Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA Yadvinder.malhi@ouce.ox.ac.uk www.yadvindermalhi.org

2 Talk structure Study region Plant diversity and distributions Ecosystem productivity Heterotrophic processes Plant distribution change Tree line studies

3 Kosñipata Valley and adjoining Amazon lowlands Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group: www.aberg.org

4 3450m 3250m 3000m 2750m 2500m 2000m 2250m 1750m 1500m 1250m 1000m 200m

5 8.5 o C 9.2 o C 10.5 o C 11.9 o C 13.3 o C 15.3 o C 14.8 o C 16.7 o C 19 o C 21 o C 22.1 o C 26.4 o C Malhi, Y. et al (2010) Elevation gradients in the tropics: laboratories for ecosystem ecology and global change research, Global Change Biology, 16, 12, 3171-3175

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10 Talk structure Study region Plant diversity and distributions Ecosystem productivity Heterotrophic processes Plant distribution change Tree line studies

11 >60 ha 1 ha plots Trees 10cm dbh Temperature and rainfall gradients

12 Tree Species Diversity Lowland levels of diversity maintained to ~1700 m * *

13 Most species have narrow elevation ranges Tree species ranking

14 Talk structure Study region Plant diversity and distributions Ecosystem productivity Heterotrophic processes Plant distribution change Tree line studies

15 Measuring Tropical Forest Carbon Allocation and Cycling: A RAINFOR-GEM Field Manual for Intensive Census Plots (v2.2). Manual, Global Ecosystems Monitoring network, gem.tropicalforests.ox.ac.uk

16 GPP= 36.15±3.97 The carbon cycle of a forest at Tambopata. Peru R leaf =8.86±2.78 R stem = 5.85±2.50 NPP Total = 15.14±0.83 NPP AG = 9.96±0.41 NPP BG = 5.18±0.72 D fine litterfall 5.61±0.32 D CWD 3.59±0.26 R rhizosphere 5.07±0.86 R soil =12.98±0.82 D root 5.18±0.72 R soilhet = 7.14±0.49 NPP coarse root s = 0.51±0.05 NPP fine roots = 4.67±0.72 NPP ACW = 2.64±0.24 NPP litterfall = 5.61±0.32 NPP branch turnover = 0.95±0.10 NPP herbivory = 0.76±0.05 R cwd R coarseroot 1.23±0.62 Malhi et al, Plant Ecology and Diversity, 2014

17 GPP and NPP decline with elevation but the transition is abrupt at around 16-1700 m asl (dry season cloud base)

18 Canopy photosynthetic capacity and leaf area index do not show a strong decline or abrupt transition with elevation Max photosynthesis under high light Leaf Area Index Once cloud immersion is factored out, autotrophic processes may have little dependence on mean temperature

19 Talk structure Study region Plant diversity and distributions Ecosystem productivity Heterotrophic processes Plant distribution change Tree line studies

20 8.5 o C 9.2 o C 10.5 o C 11.9 o C 13.3 o C 15.3 o C 14.8 o C 16.7 o C Exploring heterotrophic processes 19 o C 21 o C 22.1 o C 26.4 o C

21 Translocation of root-free soil Zimmermann et al. (2010)

22 Large-scale leaf and wood translocation experiment Salinas et al. (2011) New Phytologist

23 Leaf litter 4725 litter bags Q 10 = 3.06±0.28 (r 2 = 0.97, p = 0.002) Salinas et al., New Phytologist, 2011 Fine wood litter 1575 litter bags Q 10 = 4.0±0.56 (r 2 = 0.95, p = 0.004) Salinas et al. In review. Translocation experiments along the elevation gradient

24 The sensitivity of heterotrophic decomposition is so high because soil microbial and macrofaunal communities completely change at warmer temperatures Microbial biomass increases with elevation Increased dominance of fungi relative to bacteria at high elevation Termites are only abundant in the lowlands Whittaker et al. (2014) Journal of Ecology Palin et al. (2011) Biotropica Palin et al. (2001) Biotropica

25 Implications under warming Autotrophic processes may be very insensitive to temperature (within the range observed) because of acclimation and community turnover Heterotrophic processes may be very sensitive to temperature because of community turnover Hence warming would be expected to increase loss of carbon from soil more than it increases gain of carbon in tree biomass

26 Talk structure Study region Plant diversity and distributions Ecosystem productivity Heterotrophic processes Plant distribution change Tree line studies

27 Niches from collection data

28 The mean plant community in most plots has been increasing over last 10 years by 2.0m yr -1 (+0.5 – +3.5m yr -1 ). PLOT MIGRATION RATE (m yr-1) Feeley et al. 2011 JBioGeo

29 +2.0m yr -1 (+0.5 – +3.5m yr -1 ). +2.0m yr -1 (+0.6 – +3.6m yr -1 ) Feeley, et al. 2013, Global Change Biology MIGRATION RATE (m yr -1 ) Perú: Costa Rica: Required migration rate for climate equilibrium

30 Talk structure Study region Plant diversity and distributions Ecosystem productivity Heterotrophic processes Plant distribution change Tree line studies

31 So tree species are shifting upslope. Is the forest biome also shifting?

32 1963 2005

33 1963 2005

34 1963 2005 1963 US Air Force Recon aerial photography IKONOS satellite imagery

35 Results: Andean timberline migration Across study area, ~80% of timberline did not change Upslope migration more likely in protected areas Upslope migration rates decreased with increasing elevation Overall migration rates far slower than required to maintain equilibrium with climate change Status Annualized migration rate (m y -1 ) Years to 2100 climate equilibrium (+5⁰C) Timberline Protected0.243,750 Unprotected0.0518,000

36 The Grass Ceiling? Ecotone migration rates are 12 to 110 times slower than the observed species migration rates in our valley Protected areas help, but management may be needed interventions are needed to assist migration

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38 Large changes in composition with elevation DCA Axis 2

39 Composition and Elevation (1 ha plots) DCA Axis 1 Elevation (m)


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