One mechanism proposed to explain high species diversity in tropical systems is strong negative conspecific density dependence (CDD), which reduces recruitment of juveniles in proximity to conspecific adult plants. Although evidence shows that plant-specific soil pathogens can drive negative CDD, trees also form key mutualisms with mycorrhizal fungi, which may counteract these effects. Across 43 large-scale forest plots worldwide, we tested whether ectomycorrhizal tree species exhibit weaker negative CDD than arbuscular mycorrhizal tree species. We further tested for conmycorrhizal density dependence (CMDD) to test for benefit from shared mutualists. We found that the strength of CDD varies systematically with mycorrhizal type, with ectomycorrhizal tree species exhibiting higher sapling densities with increasing adult densities than arbuscular mycorrhizal tree species. Moreover, we found evidence of positive CMDD for tree species of both mycorrhizal types. Collectively, these findings indicate that mycorrhizal interactions likely play a foundational role in global forest diversity patterns and structure.
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AbstractFree, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
Abstract In a time of rapid global change, the question of what determines patterns in species abundance distribution remains a priority for understanding the complex dynamics of ecosystems. The constrained maximization of information entropy provides a framework for the understanding of such complex systems dynamics by a quantitative analysis of important constraints via predictions using least biased probability distributions. We apply it to over two thousand hectares of Amazonian tree inventories across seven forest types and thirteen functional traits, representing major global axes of plant strategies. Results show that constraints formed by regional relative abundances of genera explain eight times more of local relative abundances than constraints based on directional selection for specific functional traits, although the latter does show clear signals of environmental dependency. These results provide a quantitative insight by inference from large-scale data using cross-disciplinary methods, furthering our understanding of ecological dynamics.more » « lessFree, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
Tree diversity and composition in Amazonia are known to be strongly determined by the water supplied by precipitation. Nevertheless, within the same climatic regime, water availability is modulated by local topography and soil characteristics (hereafter referred to as local hydrological conditions), varying from saturated and poorly drained to well‐drained and potentially dry areas. While these conditions may be expected to influence species distribution, the impacts of local hydrological conditions on tree diversity and composition remain poorly understood at the whole Amazon basin scale. Using a dataset of 443 1‐ha non‐flooded forest plots distributed across the basin, we investigate how local hydrological conditions influence 1) tree alpha diversity, 2) the community‐weighted wood density mean (CWM‐wd) – a proxy for hydraulic resistance and 3) tree species composition. We find that the effect of local hydrological conditions on tree diversity depends on climate, being more evident in wetter forests, where diversity increases towards locations with well‐drained soils. CWM‐wd increased towards better drained soils in Southern and Western Amazonia. Tree species composition changed along local soil hydrological gradients in Central‐Eastern, Western and Southern Amazonia, and those changes were correlated with changes in the mean wood density of plots. Our results suggest that local hydrological gradients filter species, influencing the diversity and composition of Amazonian forests. Overall, this study shows that the effect of local hydrological conditions is pervasive, extending over wide Amazonian regions, and reinforces the importance of accounting for local topography and hydrology to better understand the likely response and resilience of forests to increased frequency of extreme climate events and rising temperatures.
null (Ed.)Abstract Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (EcM) associations are critical for host-tree performance. However, how mycorrhizal associations correlate with the latitudinal tree beta-diversity remains untested. Using a global dataset of 45 forest plots representing 2,804,270 trees across 3840 species, we test how AM and EcM trees contribute to total beta-diversity and its components (turnover and nestedness) of all trees. We find AM rather than EcM trees predominantly contribute to decreasing total beta-diversity and turnover and increasing nestedness with increasing latitude, probably because wide distributions of EcM trees do not generate strong compositional differences among localities. Environmental variables, especially temperature and precipitation, are strongly correlated with beta-diversity patterns for both AM trees and all trees rather than EcM trees. Results support our hypotheses that latitudinal beta-diversity patterns and environmental effects on these patterns are highly dependent on mycorrhizal types. Our findings highlight the importance of AM-dominated forests for conserving global forest biodiversity.more » « less
Mapping tree species richness across the tropics is of great interest for effective conservation and biodiversity management. In this study, we evaluated the potential of full‐waveform lidar data for mapping tree species richness across the tropics by relating measurements of vertical canopy structure, as a proxy for the occupation of vertical niche space, to tree species richness.
Major taxa studied
First, we evaluated the characteristics of vertical canopy structure across 15 study sites using (simulated) large‐footprint full‐waveform lidar data (22 m diameter) and related these findings to in‐situ tree species information. Then, we developed structure–richness models at the local (within 25–50 ha plots), regional (biogeographical regions) and pan‐tropical scale at three spatial resolutions (1.0, 0.25 and 0.0625 ha) using Poisson regression.
The results showed a weak structure–richness relationship at the local scale. At the regional scale (within a biogeographical region) a stronger relationship between canopy structure and tree species richness across different tropical forest types was found, for example across Central Africa and in South America [
R2ranging from .44–.56, root mean squared difference as a percentage of the mean (RMSD%) ranging between 23–61%]. Modelling the relationship pan‐tropically, across four continents, 39% of the variation in tree species richness could be explained with canopy structure alone ( R2 = .39 and RMSD% = 43%, 0.25‐ha resolution). Main conclusions
Our results may serve as a basis for the future development of a set of structure–richness models to map high resolution tree species richness using vertical canopy structure information from the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI). The value of this effort would be enhanced by access to a larger set of field reference data for all tropical regions. Future research could also support the use of GEDI data in frameworks using environmental and spectral information for modelling tree species richness across the tropics.