, Volume 192, Issue 2, pp 181-191
Date: 10 Jun 2007

Above-ground biomass changes over an 11-year period in an Amazon monodominant forest and two other lowland forests

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Abstract

Tropical rain forest dominated by Peltogyne gracilipes (Fabaceae) occurs on Maracá Island, Roraima, Brazil, on a range of soil types. Three forest types were stratified for sampling, according to the occurrence of Peltogyne trees: (1) Peltogyne-rich forest (PRF), (2) Peltogyne-poor forest (PPF), and (3) forest without Peltogyne (FWP). Biomass increment and change in total stand biomass were calculated from mortality, recruitment, and growth data for trees in the three forest types. Data were derived from permanent plots established in 1991, where all trees (≥10 cm diameter at breast height), including palms and vines (lianas), were tagged and measured in three plots, each of 0.25 ha, in each of the three forest types. Field surveys were carried out in October 1991 and March 2003. Over a period of 11 years, the above-ground biomass in all forest types declined slightly (<5%), associated with the death of large trees, especially in the monodominant forests (PRF and PPF). Within the study period, the forest on Maracá experienced two heavy droughts, related to El Niño events (1997–1998 and 2002–2003) and most mortality and loss of biomass probably occurred during these events. Therefore, as the Maracá forests appear not be increasing in above-ground biomass overall, they may not be acting as a sink for atmospheric CO2. The trees of the five most abundant species (Ecclinusa, Lecythis, Licania, Peltogyne, and Pradosia) accounted for about 55% of the total biomass in both FWP and PPF and for 74% in PRF. Peltogyne gracilipes had a stable, regenerating population in PRF, and is clearly a persistent dominant in a monodominant forest.

John Proctor—Deceased