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Data from: Legume abundance along successional and rainfall gradients in neotropical forests

Citation

Gei, Maga et al. (2019), Data from: Legume abundance along successional and rainfall gradients in neotropical forests, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3p1k5d2

Abstract

The nutrient demands of regrowing tropical forests are partly satisfied by nitrogen (N)-fixing legume trees, but our understanding of the abundance of those species is biased towards wet tropical regions. Here we show how the abundance of Leguminosae is affected by both recovery from disturbance and large-scale rainfall gradients through a synthesis of forest-inventory plots from a network of 42 Neotropical forest chronosequences. During the first three decades of natural forest regeneration, legume basal area is twice as high in dry compared to wet secondary forests. The tremendous ecological success of legumes in recently disturbed, water-limited forests is likely related to both their reduced leaflet size and ability to fix N2, which together enhance legume drought tolerance and water-use efficiency. Earth system models should incorporate these large-scale successional and climatic patterns of legume dominance to provide more accurate estimates of the maximum potential for natural N fixation across tropical forests.

Usage Notes

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-0129104, NSF CAREER GSS 1349952, DEB-1050957, CAREER DEB 1053237, DEB 928031, NSF 10-02586

Location

South America
Central America
Neotropics
Mesoamerica