Advertisement

The importance of wood traits and hydraulic conductance for the performance and life history strategies of 42 rainforest tree species

Authors

  • Lourens Poorter,

    1. Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
    2. Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal (IBIF), Casilla 6204, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
    3. Resource Ecology Group, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Imole McDonald,

    1. Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Alfredo Alarcón,

    1. Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal (IBIF), Casilla 6204, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Esther Fichtler,

    1. Department of Crop Sciences, Agronomy in the Tropics, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Grisebachstrasse 6, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Juan-Carlos Licona,

    1. Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal (IBIF), Casilla 6204, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Marielos Peña-Claros,

    1. Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
    2. Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal (IBIF), Casilla 6204, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Frank Sterck,

    1. Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Zulma Villegas,

    1. Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal (IBIF), Casilla 6204, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ute Sass-Klaassen

    1. Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author

Author for correspondence:
Lourens Poorter
Tel: +31 317 486195
Email: lourens.poorter@wur.nl

Summary

  • In a comparative study of 42 rainforest tree species we examined relationships amongst wood traits, diameter growth and survival of large trees in the field, and shade tolerance and adult stature of the species.
  • The species show two orthogonal axes of trait variation: a primary axis related to the vessel size–number trade-off (reflecting investment in hydraulic conductance vs hydraulic safety) and a secondary axis related to investment in parenchyma vs fibres (storage vs strength). Across species, growth rate was positively related to vessel diameter and potential specific hydraulic conductance (Kp), and negatively related to wood density. Survival rate was only positively related to wood density.
  • Light-demanding species were characterized by low wood and vessel density and wide vessels. Tall species were characterized by wide vessels with low density and large Kp. Hydraulic traits were more closely associated with adult stature than with light demand, possibly because tall canopy species experience more drought stress and face a higher cavitation risk.
  • Vessel traits affect growth and wood density affects growth and survival of large trees in the field. Vessel traits and wood density are therefore important components of the performance and life history strategies of tropical tree species.

Ancillary