Biogeosciences Editors' Highlights

Seasonal Leaf Production Is Key Control on Amazon Carbon Balance

Characterizing leaf phenology in process-based models reconciles both “dry season green-up” and drought controls on Amazonian carbon balance.

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences


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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. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JG004282

—George Vourlitis, Associate Editor, JGR: Biogeosciences

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