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Data from: Girth increment changes in response to soil water availability in lowland dipterocarp forest in Borneo: an individualistic time-series analysis


Newbery, David; Lingenfelder, Marcus (2022), Data from: Girth increment changes in response to soil water availability in lowland dipterocarp forest in Borneo: an individualistic time-series analysis, Dryad, Dataset,


Time-series data offer a way of investigating the causes driving ecological processes as phenomena. To test for possible differences in water relations between species of different forest structural guilds at Danum (Sabah, NE Borneo), daily stem girth increments (gthi), of 18 trees across six species were regressed individually on soil moisture potential (SMP) and temperature (TEMP), accounting for temporal autocorrelation (in GLS-arima models), and compared between a wet and a dry period. The best-fitting significant variables were SMP the day before and TEMP the same day. The first resulted in a mix of positive and negative coefficients, the second largely positive ones. An adjustment for dry-period showers was applied. Interactions were stronger in dry than wet period. Negative relationships for overstorey trees can be interpreted in a reversed causal sense: fast transporting stems depleted soil water and lowered SMP. Positive relationships for understorey trees meant they took up most water at high SMP. The unexpected negative relationships for these small trees may have been due to their roots accessing deeper water supplies (if SMP was inversely related to that of the surface layer), and this was influenced by competition with larger neighbour trees. A tree-soil flux dynamics manifold may have been operating. Patterns of mean diurnal girth variation were more consistent among species, and time-series coefficients were negatively related to their maxima. Expected differences in response to SMP in the wet and dry periods did not clearly support a previous hypothesis differentiating drought and non-drought tolerant understorey guilds. Trees within species showed highly individual responses when tree size was standardized. Data on individual root systems and SMP at several depths are needed to get closer to the mechanisms that underlie the tree-soil water phenomena in these tropical forests. Neighborhood stochasticity importantly creates varying local environments experienced by individual trees.


Daily stem-girth increment changes (gthi) were recorded using electronic dendrobands on 18 selected trees within a permanent rain forest dynamics plot at Danum Valley, Sabah, Malaysia (NE Borneo) in 2007-2010. Soil moisture potential (SMP) and logger temperature (TEMP) were recorded simultaneously. After detailed preliminary data analysis, near complete time series were possible for a long wet period (550 days) and a shorter dry period (almost 100 days). On this basis, an extensive statistical time-series analysis of gthi was conducted at the level of each individual tree. The within-day resolution of recording also allowed a diurnal analysis of relative stem girth changes. Full details of methodology and data analysis are presented in the paper.

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Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung, Award: 31003A-110250