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Title: The other side of tropical forest drought: do shallow water table regions of Amazonia act as large-scale hydrological refugia from drought?
Authors: Costa, Flávia Regina Capellotto
Schietti, Juliana
Stark, Scott C.
Smith, Marielle N.
Keywords: Tropical Forests
Gross Primary Productivity
Issue Date: 2022
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: New Phytologist
Abstract: Tropical forest function is of global significance to climate change responses, and critically determined by water availability patterns. Groundwater is tightly related to soil water through the water table depth (WT), but historically neglected in ecological studies. Shallow WT forests (WT < 5 m) are underrepresented in forest research networks and absent in eddy flux measurements, although they represent c. 50% of the Amazon and are expected to respond differently to global-change-related droughts. We review WT patterns and consequences for plants, emerging results, and advance a conceptual model integrating environment and trait distributions to predict climate change effects. Shallow WT forests have a distinct species composition, with more resource-acquisitive and hydrologically vulnerable trees, shorter canopies and lower biomass than deep WT forests. During ‘normal’ climatic years, shallow WT forests have higher mortality and lower productivity than deep WT forests, but during moderate droughts mortality is buffered and productivity increases. However, during severe drought, shallow WT forests may be more sensitive due to shallow roots and drought-intolerant traits. Our evidence supports the hypothesis of neglected shallow WT forests being resilient to moderate drought, challenging the prevailing view of widespread negative effects of climate change on Amazonian forests that ignores WT gradients, but predicts they could collapse under very strong droughts.
ISSN: 0028646X
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1111/nph.17914
Appears in Collections:Artigos

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