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Inferred causes of tree mortality in fragmented and intact Amazonian forests

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 March 2004

Sammya A. D'Angelo
Affiliation:
Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), C.P. 478, Manaus, AM 69011-970, Brazil
Ana C. S. Andrade
Affiliation:
Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), C.P. 478, Manaus, AM 69011-970, Brazil
Susan G. Laurance
Affiliation:
Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), C.P. 478, Manaus, AM 69011-970, Brazil Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 2072, Balboa, Republic of Panamá
William F. Laurance
Affiliation:
Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), C.P. 478, Manaus, AM 69011-970, Brazil Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 2072, Balboa, Republic of Panamá
Rita C. G. Mesquita
Affiliation:
Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), C.P. 478, Manaus, AM 69011-970, Brazil

Abstract

In fragmented tropical landscapes, among the most pervasive causes of ecological change are edge effects – diverse ecological alterations associated with the abrupt, artificial boundaries of forest fragments (Laurance & Bierregaard 1997, Lovejoy et al. 1986, Turner 1996). A striking edge effect in fragmented Amazonian forests is chronically elevated tree mortality (Ferreira & Laurance 1997, Laurance et al. 1998a). Large (> 60 cm diameter) trees are especially vulnerable to fragmentation, dying three times faster within 300 m of edges than in forest interiors (Laurance et al. 2000). Elevated tree mortality alters canopy-gap dynamics, promotes a proliferation of disturbance-adapted successional species (Laurance et al. 1998b), reduces above-ground biomass (Laurance et al. 1997), and accelerates litter production (Didham & Lawton 1999, Sizer et al. 2000) and carbon cycling (Nascimento & Laurance, in press).

Type
Brief Report
Copyright
2004 Cambridge University Press

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