Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Climate and soil drive forest structure in Bolivian lowland forests

  • Marisol Toledo (a1) (a2), Lourens Poorter (a1) (a2), Marielos Peña-Claros (a1) (a2), Alfredo Alarcón (a2), Julio Balcázar (a2), Claudio Leaño (a2), Juan Carlos Licona (a2) and Frans Bongers (a1)...

Abstract:

Climate is one of the most important factors determining variation in forest structure, but whether soils have independent effects is less clear. We evaluate how climate and soil independently affect forest structure, using 89 200 stems ≥ 10 cm dbh from 220 1-ha permanent plots distributed along environmental gradients in lowland Bolivia. Fifteen forest structural variables, related to vertical structure (forest height and layering), horizontal structure (basal area, median and the 99th percentile of the stem diameter and size-class distribution) and density of life forms (tree, palm and liana), were evaluated. Environmental variables were summarized in four multivariate axes, related to rainfall, temperature, soil fertility and soil texture. Multiple regression indicates that all structural variables were affected by one or more of the environmental axes, but the explained variation was generally low (median R2 = 0.15). Rainfall and soil texture affected most forest structural variables (respectively 87% and 80%) and had qualitatively similar effects. This suggests that plant water availability, as determined by rainfall and soil water retention capacity, is the strongest driver of forest structure, whereas soil fertility was a weaker driver of forest structure, affecting 53% of the variables. Maximum forest height, palm density, total basal area and liana infestation showed the strongest responses to environmental variation (with R2 ranging from 0.31–0.82). Forest height, palm density and total basal area increased with plant water availability, while liana infestation decreased with plant water availability. Therefore, multiple rather than single environmental factors must be used to explain the structure of tropical forests.

Copyright

Corresponding author

1Corresponding author. Email: mtoledo@ibifbolivia.org.bo

References

Hide All
ALDER, D. & SYNNOTT, T. J. 1992. Permanent sample plot techniques for mixed tropical forest. Tropical Forestry Papers 25. Oxford Forestry Institute. 124 pp.
ASHTON, P. S. & HALL, P. 1992. Comparisons of structure among mixed dipterocarp forests of north-western Borneo. Journal of Ecology 80:459481.
BALFOUR, D. A. & BOND, W. J. 1993. Factors limiting climber distribution and abundance in a southern African forest. Journal of Ecology 81:9399.
BONGERS, F. 2001. Methods to assess tropical rain forest canopy structure: an overview. Plant Ecology 153:263277.
BONGERS, F., POPMA, J., MEAVE DEL CASTILLO, J. & CARABIAS, J. 1988. Structure and floristic composition of the lowland rain forest of Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. Vegetatio 74:5580.
BRADY, N. C. 1990. The nature and properties of soils. (Tenth edition). MacMillan Publishing Company, New York. 621 pp.
CAI, Z. Q. & BONGERS, F. 2007. Contrasting nitrogen and phosphorus resorption efficiencies in trees and lianas from a tropical montane rain forest in Xishuangbanna, southwest China. Journal of Tropical Ecology 23:115118.
CARSE, L. E., FREDERICKSEN, T. S. & LICONA, J. C. 2000. Liana–tree species associations in a Bolivian dry forest. Tropical Ecology 41:110.
CLARK, D. A., CLARK, D. B., SANDOVAL, R. & CASTRO, M. V. 1995. Edaphic and human effects on landscape-scale distribution of tropical rain forest palms. Ecology 76:25812594.
CLARK, D. B. & CLARK, D. A. 2000. Landscape-scale variation in forest structure and biomass in a tropical rain forest. Forest Ecology and Management 137:185198.
CLINEBELL, R. R. I., PHILLIPS, O. L., GENTRY, A. H., STARK, N. & ZUURING, H. 1995. Prediction of tropical tree and liana species richness from soil and climatic data. Biodiversity and Conservation 4:5690.
CONTRERAS, F., LEAÑO, C., LICONA, J. C., DAUBER, E., GUNNAR, L., HAGER, N. & CABA, C. 1999. Guía para la instalación y evaluación de parcelas permanentes de muestreo (PPMs). BOLFOR-PROMABOSQUE, Santa Cruz, Bolivia. 50 pp.
DAWKINS, H. C. & FIELD, D. R. B. 1978. A long-term surveillance system for British woodland vegetation. Department of Forestry, Oxford University, Oxford. 106 pp.
DE GOUVENAIN, R. C. & SILANDER, J. A. 2003. Do tropical storm regimes influence the structure of tropical lowland rain forests? Biotropica 35:166180.
DEWALT, S. J. & CHAVE, J. 2004. Structure and biomass of four lowland Neotropical forests. Biotropica 36:719.
DEWALT, S. J., SCHNITZER, S. A. & DENSLOW, J. S. 2000. Density and diversity of lianas along a chronosequence in a central Panamanian lowland forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 16:119.
DEWALT, S. J., ICKES, K., NILUS, R., HARMS, K. E. & BURSLEM, D. F. R. P. 2006. Liana habitat associations and community structure in a Bornean lowland tropical forest. Plant Ecology 186:203216.
DEWALT, S. J., SCHNITZER, S. A., CHAVE, J., BONGERS, F., BURNHAM, R. J., CAI, Z., CHUYONG, G., CLARK, D. B., EWANGO, C. E. N., GERWING, J. J., GORTAIRE, E., HART, T., IBARRA-MANRIQUEZ, G., ICKES, K., KENFACK, D., MACÍA, M. J., MAKANA, J., MARTÍNEZ-RAMOS, M., MASCARO, J., MOSES, S., MULLER-LANDAU, H. C., PARREN, M. P. E., PARTHASARATHY, N., PÉREZ-SALICRUP, D. R., PUTZ, F. E., ROMERO-SALTOS, H. & THOMAS, D. 2010. Annual rainfall and seasonality predict pan-tropical patterns of liana density and basal area. Biotropica 42:309317.
FABER-LANGENDOEN, D. & GENTRY, A. H. 1991. The structure and diversity of rain forests at Bajo Calima, Choco Region, Western Colombia. Biotropica 23:211.
GENTRY, A. H. 1988. Changes in plant community diversity and floristic composition on environmental and geographical gradients. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 75:134.
GENTRY, A. H. 1991. The distribution and evolution of climbing plants. Pp. 349 in Putz, F. E. & Mooney, H. A. (eds.). The biology of vines. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
GENTRY, A. H. & TERBORGH, J. 1990. Composition and dynamics of the Cocha Cashu “mature” floodplain forest. Pp. 542564 in Gentry, A. H. (ed.). Four neotropical rainforests. Yale University Press. New Haven.
GEROLD, G. 2003. La base para la biodiversidad: el suelo. Pp. 1831 in Ibisch, P. L. & Mérida, G. (eds.). Biodiversidad: la riqueza de Bolivia. Estado de conocimiento y conservación. Ministerio de Desarrollo Sostenible. Editorial FAN, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
IBARRA-MANRÍQUEZ, G. & MARTÍNEZ-RAMOS, M. 2002. Landscape variation of liana communities in a neotropical rain forest. Plant Ecology 160:91112.
IPCC. 2007. Climate change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). Published for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 976 pp.
JHA, C. S. & SINGH, J. S. 1990. Composition and dynamics of dry tropical forest in relation to soil texture. Journal of Vegetation Science 1:609614.
KAHN, F. & HENDERSON, A. 1999. An overview of the palms of the várzea in the Amazon region. Advances in Economic Botany 13:187193.
KILLEEN, T. J., JARDIM, A., MAMANI, F. & ROJAS, N. 1998. Diversity, composition and structure of a tropical semideciduous forest in the Chiquitania region of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Journal of Tropical Ecology 14:803827.
LAURANCE, W. F., PÉREZ-SALICRUP, D., DELAMÓNICA, P., FEARNSIDE, P. M., D'ANGELO, S., JEROZOLINSKI, A., POHL, L. & LOVEJOY, T. E. 2001. Rain forest fragmentation and the structure of Amazonian liana communities. Ecology 82:105116.
LEWIS, S. L., PHILLIPS, O. L., BAKER, T. R., LLOYD, J., MALHI, Y., ALMEIDA, S., HIGUCHI, N., LAURANCE, W. F., NEILL, D. A., SILVA, J. N. M., TERBORGH, J., LEZAMA, A. T., MARTÍNEZ, R. V., BROWN, S., CHAVE, J., KUEBLER, C., VARGAS, P. N. & VINCETI, B. 2004. Concerted changes in tropical forest structure and dynamics: evidence from 50 South American long-term plots. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B Biological Sciences. 359:421436.
LICONA-VASQUEZ, J. C., PEÑA-CLAROS, M. & MOSTACEDO, B. 2007. Composición florística, estructura y dinámica de un bosque amazónico aprovechado a diferentes intensidades en Pando, Bolivia. BOLFOR & IBIF, Santa Cruz, Bolivia. 49 pp.
LIEBERMAN, D., LIEBERMAN, M., PERALTA, R. & HARTSHORN, G. 1996. Tropical forest structure and composition on a large-scale altitudinal gradient in Costa Rica. Journal of Ecology 84:137152.
LOSOS, E., ASHTON, P. S., BROKAW, N., BUNYAVEJCHEWIN, S., CONDIT, R., CHUYONG, G., CO, L., DATTARAJA, H. S., DAVIES, S., ESUFALI, S., EWANGO, C., FOSTER, R., GUNATILLEKE, N., GUNATILLEKE, S., HART, T., HERNANDEZ, C., HUBBELL, S., ITOH, A., JOHN, R., KANZAKI, M., KENFACK, D., KIRATIPRAYOON, S., LAFRANKIE, J., LEE, H. S., LIENGOLA, I., LAO, S., LOSOS, E., MAKANA, J.R., MANOKARAN, N., NAVARRETE, H., OHKUBO, T., PÉREZ, R., PONGPATTANANURAK, N., SAMPER, C., SRI-NGERNYUANG, KRIANGSAK, SUKUMAR, R., SUN, I. F., SURESH, H. S., TAN, S., THOMAS, D., THOMPSON, J., VALLEJO, M., VILLA MUÑOZ, G., VALENCIA, R., YAMAKURA, T. & ZIMMERMAN, J. 2004. The structure of tropical forests. Pp. 6978 in Losos, E. C. & Leigh, E. G. (eds.). Tropical forest diversity and dynamism: findings from a large-scale plot network. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
MADEIRA, B. G., ESPÍRITO-SANTO, M. M., NETO, S. D., NUNES, Y. R. F., AZOFEITA, G. A. S., FERNANDES, G. W. & QUESADA, M. 2009. Changes in tree and liana communities along a successional gradient in a tropical dry forest in south-eastern Brazil. Plant Ecology 201:291304.
MALHI, Y., PHILLIPS, O. L., LLOYD, J., BAKER, T., WRIGHT, J., ALMEIDA, S., ARROYO, L., FREDERIKSEN, T., GRACE, J., HIGUCHI, N., KILLEEN, T., LAURANCE, W. F., LEANO, C., LEWIS, S., MEIR, P., MONTEAGUDO, A., NEILL, D., NÚÑEZ VARGAS, P., PANFIL, S. N., PATIÑO, S., PITMAN, N., QUESADA, C. A., RUDAS-LL, A., SALOMAO, R., SALESKA, S., SILVA, N., SILVEIRA, M., SOMBROEK, W. G., VALENCIA, R., VÁSQUEZ MARTÍNEZ, R., VIEIRA, I. C. G. & VINCETI, B. 2002. An international network to monitor the structure, composition and dynamics of Amazonian forests (RAINFOR). Journal of Vegetation Science 13:439450.
MASCARO, J., SCHNITZER, S. A. & CARSON, W. P. 2004. Liana diversity, abundance, and mortality in a tropical wet forest in Costa Rica. Forest Ecology and Management 190:314.
MILLIKEN, W. 1998. Structure and composition of one hectare of central Amazonian terra firme forest. Biotropica 30:530537.
MURPHY, P. G. & LUGO, A. E. 1986. Ecology of tropical dry forest. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 17:6788.
NEBEL, G., KVIST, L. P., VANCLAY, J. K., CHRISTENSEN, H., FREITAS, L. & RUIZ, J. 2001. Structure and floristic composition of flood plain forests in the Peruvian Amazon. 1. Overstorey. Forest Ecology and Management 150:2757.
NEWBERY, D. M., CAMPBELL, E. J. F., LEE, Y. F., RIDSDALE, C. E. & STILL, M. J. 1992. Primary lowland dipterocarp forest at Danum Valley, Sabah, Malaysia: structure, relative abundance and family composition. Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, The Royal Society 335:341356.
PAOLI, G. D., CURRAN, L. M. & SLIK, J. W. F. 2008. Soil nutrients affect spatial patterns of aboveground biomass and emergent tree density in southwestern Borneo. Oecología 155:287299.
PARTHASARATHY, N., MUTHURAMKUMAR, S. & REDDY, M. S. 2004. Patterns of liana diversity in tropical evergreen forest of Peninsular India. Forest Ecology and Management 190:1531.
PÉREZ-SALICRUP, D. R., SORK, V. L. & PUTZ, F. E. 2001. Lianas and trees in a liana forest of Amazonian Bolivia. Biotropica 33:3447.
POORTER, L., HAWTHORNE, W., BONGERS, F. & SHEIL, D. 2008. Maximum size distributions in tropical forest communities: relationships with rainfall and disturbance. Journal of Ecology 96:495504.
POULSEN, A. D., TUOMISTO, H. & BALSLEV, H. 2006. Edaphic and floristic variation within a 1-ha plot of lowland Amazonian rain forest. Biotropica 38:468478.
PROCTOR, J., ANDERSON, J. M., CHAI, P. & VALLACK, H. W. 1983. Ecological studies in 4 contrasting lowland rain forests. Journal of Ecology 71:237260.
PUTZ, F. E. 1984. The natural history of lianas on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Ecology 65:17131724.
PUTZ, F. E. & CHAI, P. 1987. Ecological studies of lianas in Lambir National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia. Journal of Ecology 75:523531.
RICHARDS, P. W. 1996. The tropical rain forest: An ecological study. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 575 pp.
SAXE, H., CANNELL, M. G. R., JOHNSEN, B., RYAN, M. G. & VOURLITIS, G. 2001. Tree and forest functioning in response to global warming. New Phytologist 149:369399.
SCHNITZER, S. A. 2005. A mechanistic explanation for global patterns of liana abundance and distribution. American Naturalist 166:262276.
SCHNITZER, S. A. & BONGERS, F. 2002. The ecology of lianas and their role in forests. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17:223230.
SESNIE, S. E., FINEGAN, B., GESSLER, P. E. & RAMOS, Z. 2009. Landscape-scale environmental and floristic variation in Costa Rican old-growth rain forest remnants. Biotropica 41:1626.
SPIES, T. A. 1998. Forest structure: a key to the ecosystem. Northwest Science 72:3439.
SUÁREZ-SORUCO, M. 2000. Compendio de la Geología de Bolivia. Cochabamba, Bolivia. 114 pp.
SWAINE, M. D. & GRACE, J. 2007. Lianas may be favored by low rainfall: evidence from Ghana. Plant Ecology 192:271276.
SWAINE, M. D., LIEBERMAN, D. & HALL, J. B. 1990. Structure and dynamics of a tropical dry forest in Ghana. Vegetatio 88:3151.
TAKYU, M., KUBOTA, Y., AIBA, S., SEINO, T. & NISHIMURA, T. 2005. Pattern of changes in species diversity, structure and dynamics of forest ecosystems along latitudinal gradients in East Asia. Ecological Research 20:287296.
TER STEEGE, H., PITMAN, N., SABATIER, D., CASTELLANOS, H., VAN DER HOUT, P., DALY, D. C., SILVEIRA, M., PHILLIPS, O., VASQUEZ, R., VAN ANDEL, T., DUIVENVOORDEN, J., DE OLIVEIRA, A. A., EK, R., LILWAH, R., THOMAS, R., VAN ESSEN, J., BAIDER, C., MAAS, P., MORI, S., TERBORGH, J., VARGAS, P. N., MOGOLLÓN, H. & MORAWETZ, W. 2003. A spatial model of tree α-diversity and tree density for the Amazon. Biodiversity and Conservation 12:22552277.
TOLEDO, M. 2010. Neotropical lowland forests along environmental gradients. PhD thesis, Wageningen University, the Netherlands.
TOLEDO, M., POORTER, L., PEÑA-CLAROS, M., ALARCÓN, A., BALCÁZAR, J., CHUVIÑA, J., LEAÑO, C., LICONA, J. C., TER STEEGE, H. & BONGERS, F. 2011a. Patterns and determinants of floristic variation across lowland forests of Bolivia. Biotropica doi:10.1111/j.1744–7429.2010.00711.x
TOLEDO, M., POORTER, L., PEÑA-CLAROS, M., ALARCÓN, A., BALCÁZAR, J., LEAÑO, C., LICONA, J. C., LLANQUE, O., VROOMANS, V., ZUIDEMA, P. & BONGERS, F. 2011b. Climate is a stronger driver of tree and forest growth rates than soil and disturbance. Journal of Ecology 99:254264.
USLAR, I., MOSTACEDO, B. & SALDIAS, M. 2004. Composición, estructura y dinámica de un bosque seco semideciduo en Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Ecología en Bolivia 39:2543.
VELARDE, M. J. & MORAES, M. 2008. Densidad de individuos adultos y producción de frutos del asaí (Euterpe precatoria, Arecaceae) en Riberalta, Bolivia. Ecología en Bolivia 43:99110.
VIEIRA, S., BARBOSA, DE, CAMARGO, P., SELHORST, D., DA SILVA, R., HUTYRA, L., CHAMBERS, J. Q., BROWN, I. F., HIGUCHI, N., DOS SANTOS, J., WOFSY, S. C., TRUMBORE, S. E. & MARTINELLI, L. A. 2004. Forest structure and carbon dynamics in Amazonian tropical rain forests. Oecología 140:468479.
VORMISTO, J. 2002. Palms as rainforest resources: how evenly are they distributed in Peruvian Amazonia? Biodiversity and Conservation 11:10251045.
VORMISTO, J., SVENNING, J. C., HALL, P. & BALSLEV, H. 2004. Diversity and dominance in palm (Arecaceae) communities in terra firme forests in the western Amazon basin. Journal of Ecology 92:577588.
WHITE, D. A. & HOOD, C. S. 2004. Vegetation patterns and environmental gradients in tropical dry forests of the northern Yucatan Peninsula. Journal of Vegetation Science 15:151160.

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed