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Title: Age and Growth Patterns of Brazil Nut Trees (Bertholletia excelsa Bonpl.) in Amazonia, Brazil
Authors: Schöngart, Jochen
Gribel, Rogério
Ferreira da Fonseca-Junior, Sinomar
Haugaasen, Torbjørn
Keywords: Age Determination
Growth Curve
Precipitation (climatology)
Spatio-temporal Analysis
Tree Ring
Vegetation Type
Para [brazil]
Purus Basin
Trombetas Valley
Bertholletia Excelsa
Issue Date: 2015
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Biotropica
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 47, Número 5, Pags. 550-558
Abstract: Various techniques have been used to estimate the age of Brazil nut trees (Bertholletia excelsa Bonpl.), but these techniques produce large discrepancies. Here, we first verified that two individuals of known ages from a plantation in central Amazonia, Brazil, have a congruent number of growth rings. The indexed average tree-ring curve was significantly correlated with total precipitation during the rainy season (November-June) over a 50-yr period, confirming the annual nature of the tree rings. Second, we analyzed Brazil nut trees from two populations in the Trombetas (eastern Amazon) and Purus (central Amazon) regions, performing tree-ring analysis to estimate tree age and diameter increment rates. We compared age-diameter relationships, mean passage time through 10-cm diameter size classes, and growth trajectories of individual trees. The maximum age of Brazil nut trees analyzed was 361 yr in the Purus and 401 yr in the Trombetas. Trees at the Purus site had higher mean diameter increment rates and showed more variation compared to trees at the Trombetas site. Individual growth trajectories show that the majority of trees attained the canopy by direct growth, while a smaller number passed through one release or one suppression event before becoming established in the canopy. None of the trees passed through multiple release and suppression events. The age estimations presented here are comparable to previous tree-ring analyses for the species, and the observed growth patterns support earlier work indicating B. excelsa as a gap-dependent tree species. © 2015 Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation Inc.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1111/btp.12243
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