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Tropical Forests and Global Atmospheric Change$
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Yadvinder Malhi and Oliver Phillips

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567066

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567066.001.0001

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Forest–climate interactions in fragmented tropical landscapes

Forest–climate interactions in fragmented tropical landscapes

(p.31) CHAPTER 3 Forest–climate interactions in fragmented tropical landscapes
Tropical Forests and Global Atmospheric Change

William F. Laurance

Oxford University Press

In the tropics, habitat fragmentation alters forest-climate interactions in diverse ways. On a local scale (<1 km), elevated desiccation and wind disturbance near fragment margins lead to sharply increased tree mortality, altering canopy-gap dynamics, plant-community composition, biomass dynamics, and carbon storage. Fragmented forests are also highly vulnerable to edge-related fires, especially in regions which have periodic droughts or strong dry seasons. At landscape to regional scales (10-1,000 km), habitat fragmentation may have complex effects on forest-climate interactions, with important consequences for atmospheric circulation, water cycling, and precipitation. Positive feedbacks among deforestation, regional climate change, and fire could pose a serious threat for some tropical forests, but the details of such interactions are poorly understood.

Keywords:   atmospheric circulation, biomass, carbon dynamics, edge effects, fire, forest hydrology, habitat fragmentation, microclimate, rainforest

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