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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 25, 2023
  2. Abstract We introduce the FunAndes database, a compilation of functional trait data for the Andean flora spanning six countries. FunAndes contains data on 24 traits across 2,694 taxa, for a total of 105,466 entries. The database features plant-morphological attributes including growth form, and leaf, stem, and wood traits measured at the species or individual level, together with geographic metadata (i.e., coordinates and elevation). FunAndes follows the field names, trait descriptions and units of measurement of the TRY database. It is currently available in open access in the FIGSHARE data repository, and will be part of TRY’s next release. Open access trait data from Andean plants will contribute to ecological research in the region, the most species rich terrestrial biodiversity hotspot.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  3. Elevation gradients present enigmatic diversity patterns, with trends often dependent on the dimension of diversity considered. However, focus is often on patterns of taxonomic diversity and interactions between diversity gradients and evolutionary factors, such as lineage age, are poorly understood. We combine forest census data with a genus level phylogeny representing tree ferns, gymnosperms, angiosperms, and an evolutionary depth of 382 million years, to investigate taxonomic and evolutionary diversity patterns across a long tropical montane forest elevation gradient on the Amazonian flank of the Peruvian Andes. We find that evolutionary diversity peaks at mid-elevations and contrasts with taxonomic richness, which is invariant from low to mid-elevation, but then decreases with elevation. We suggest that this trend interacts with variation in the evolutionary ages of lineages across elevation, with contrasting distribution trends between younger and older lineages. For example, while 53% of young lineages (originated by 10 million years ago) occur only below ∼1,750 m asl, just 13% of old lineages (originated by 110 million years ago) are restricted to below ∼1,750 m asl. Overall our results support an Environmental Crossroads hypothesis, whereby a mid-gradient mingling of distinct floras creates an evolutionary diversity in mid-elevation Andean forests that rivals that ofmore »the Amazonian lowlands.« less
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    Abstract It is largely unknown how South America’s Andean forests affect the global carbon cycle, and thus regulate climate change. Here, we measure aboveground carbon dynamics over the past two decades in 119 monitoring plots spanning a range of >3000 m elevation across the subtropical and tropical Andes. Our results show that Andean forests act as strong sinks for aboveground carbon (0.67 ± 0.08 Mg C ha −1 y −1 ) and have a high potential to serve as future carbon refuges. Aboveground carbon dynamics of Andean forests are driven by abiotic and biotic factors, such as climate and size-dependent mortality of trees. The increasing aboveground carbon stocks offset the estimated C emissions due to deforestation between 2003 and 2014, resulting in a net total uptake of 0.027 Pg C y −1 . Reducing deforestation will increase Andean aboveground carbon stocks, facilitate upward species migrations, and allow for recovery of biomass losses due to climate change.
  6. Giesecke, Thomas (Ed.)
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023