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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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The effects of drought on tropical forest ecosystems

The effects of drought on tropical forest ecosystems

(p.75) CHAPTER 7 The effects of drought on tropical forest ecosystems
Tropical Forests and Global Atmospheric Change

Patrick Meir

John Grace

Oxford University Press

Drought stress in tropical forests can have a major impact on global carbon, water, and energy cycles. This chapter examines drought-induced responses in the processing of carbon and water by intact tropical forest ecosystems over short (physiological) and longer (ecological) timescales. Both levels of understanding should be represented in analyses of climate-forest ecosystem feedback. Although limited spatial information on the diversity of the physical properties of soil constrains estimates of drought vulnerability, tree functional convergence across species based on simple measures such as wood density would simplify how drought responses can be represented and linked to changes in forest composition through mortality indices. While insufficient on their own, satellite-derived measurements of ecosystem properties (e.g. leaf area index) and processes (e.g. mortality and photosynthesis) are expected to provide increasingly detailed information that can be used to test understanding of short- and longer-term responses to drought.

Keywords:   drought vulnerability, tropical forests, satellite-derived measurements, forest ecosystems, tree functional convergence, forest composition

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