Vegetation dynamics in Amazonia
The top two panels show land cover (a) and mean annual precipitation (b) patterns for the Amazon Basin. Panels down the left side show simulated spatial patterns in average annual gross primary production (c), evapotranspiration (e), and leaf area index (g) for 34 study sites simulated by the modified version of the Thetys & Chloris model. Panels down the right side, display the simulated seasonal changes in gross primary production (d), evapotranspiration (f), and leaf area index (h) due to seasonal variations in leaf phenology. Credit: Manoli et al., 2018, Figure 7
Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences

Humid tropical forests often stay quite green during the dry season. This dry season “greening” is a contentious topic in the scientific literature because it implies that tropical forests are not water limited even though periodic droughts have caused declines in carbon storage. Manoli et al. [2018] use a simple scheme of plant phenology (leaf development) to resolve the mechanisms associated with the observed greening. They demonstrate that accounting for phenological patterns of leaf production provides a way for forests to withstand all but the most intense droughts, which is consistent with observations. By reconciling the well-recognized impacts of drought on tropical forest function with the observed dry season “green-up,” these findings are a major contribution to our understanding of the carbon balance in tropical forests.

Citation: Manoli G., V.Y. Ivanov, and S. Fatichi. [2018], Dry season greening and water stress in Amazonia: the role of modeling leaf phenology, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 123.

—George Vourlitis, Associate Editor, JGR: Biogeosciences

Text © 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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