The determinants of tropical forest deciduousness: disentangling the effects of rainfall and geology in central Africa
Dakis-Yaoba Ouédraogo, Adeline Fayolle, Sylvie Gourlet-Fleury, Frédéric Mortier, Vincent Freycon, Nicolas Fauvet, Suzanne Rabaud, Guillaume Cornu, Fabrice Bénédet, Jean-François Gillet, Richard Oslisly, Jean-Louis Doucet, Philippe Lejeune and Charly Favier
Version of Record online: 12 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12589
We found evidence that tropical forest deciduousness is the result of both the competitive advantage of deciduous species in climates with high rainfall seasonality, and the persistence of evergreen species on resource-poor soils. Our findings offer a clear illustration of wellknown theoretical leaf carbon economy models, explaining the patterns in the dominance of evergreen versus deciduous species. And, this large-scale assessment of the interaction between climate and geology in determining forest deciduousness may help to improve future predictions of vegetation distribution under climate change scenarios. In central Africa, forest is likely to respond differently to variation in rainfall and/or evapotranspiration depending on the geological substrate.