New Forests paper

Vulnerability of Commercial Tree Species to Water Stress in Logged Forests of the Guiana Shield

The future of tropical managed forests is threatened by climate change. In anticipation of the increase in the frequency of drought episodes predicted by climatic models for intertropical regions, it is essential to study commercial trees’ resilience and vulnerability to water stress by identifying potential interaction effects between selective logging and stress due to a lack of water. Focusing on 14 species representing a potential or acknowledged commercial interest for wood production in the Guiana Shield, a joint model coupling growth and mortality for each species was parametrized, including a climatic variable related to water stress and the quantity of aboveground biomass lost after logging. For the vast majority of the species, water stress had a negative impact on growth rate, while the impact of logging was positive. The opposite results were observed for the mortality. Combining results from growth and mortality models, we generate vulnerability profiles and ranking from species apparently quite resistant to water stress (Chrysophyllum spp., Goupia glabra Aubl., Qualea rosea Aubl.), even under logging pressure, to highly vulnerable species (Sterculia spp.). In light of our results, forest managers in the Guiana Shield may want to conduct (i) a conservation strategy of the most vulnerable species and (ii) a diversification of the logged species. Conservation of the already-adapted species may also be considered as the most certain way to protect the tropical forests under future climates.

Published: 15/06/2016

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