, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 13-16

Effects of seasonal rainfall on radial growth in two tropical tree species

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 Seasonal drought may limit primary productivity in most of the tropics, but the determinants of tree growth are not well known. A 10-year study of the deciduous trees Cochlospermum vitifolium (Willd.) Spreng. (Cochlospermaceae) and Cnidoscolus spinosus Lundell (Euphorbiaceae) in southwestern México showed radial growth to be highly correlated (both r>0.85) only with precipitation during an interval of <2 months in the mid-wet season. Growth was not affected by total annual precipitation or by an early starting or late ending of the wet season, or by heavy rainfall in the dry season. Annual mean girth increments ranged from 0.03 to 3.31 cm and −0.1 to 2.01 cm, respectively. The best model for growth (r 2>0.85) was a linear combination of mid-summer precipitation (positive coefficient) and total precipitation over the previous 2 years (negative coefficient). Comparison with other species showed heterogeneous responses of wood production to climate variation, and suggests that the range of functional types of dry forest trees is still unknown.

Received: 9 September 1996 / Accepted: 4 March 1997