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.  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. , Dry season greening and water stress in Amazonia: the role of modeling leaf phenology, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 123. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JG004282
—George Vourlitis, Associate Editor, JGR: Biogeosciences