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Contrasting Net Ecosystem Production Across Ecological Succession at Subtropical Dry Forest of Northwestern Mexico
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  • Enrico Yepez,
  • Nidia E. Rojas-Robles,
  • Juan C. Alvarez-Yepiz,
  • Zulia Mayari Sanchez-Mejia,
  • José M. Madrigal,
  • Miguel A. Rivera-Diaz,
  • Rodrigo Vargas
Enrico Yepez
Instituto Tecnológico de sonora

Corresponding Author:yepezglz@gmail.com

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Nidia E. Rojas-Robles
University of California Riverside
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Juan C. Alvarez-Yepiz
Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora
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Zulia Mayari Sanchez-Mejia
Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora
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Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora
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José M. Madrigal
Centro de Investigación en Geografía y Geomatica, Ing. Jorge L. Tamayo, A.C
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Miguel A. Rivera-Diaz
Instituto Tecnologico de Sonora
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Rodrigo Vargas
University of Delaware
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Forests are under major pressures due to contemporary land-use, which creates mosaics of stand-stage development that follow different successional paths, that imply ecosystem complexity. The interplay of carbon and water dynamics across succession involves physical and biological interactions that shape net ecosystem production (NEP) and water use efficiency. Here we present 13 years-site of eddy covariance data (2016-2020) from a seasonally dry tropical forest in Northwestern Mexico to elucidate the environmental controls on ecosystem fluxes and explore the interactions with changes in resource availability. Across a successional gradient, an early (9 years since abandonment) and a mid-successional (about 45 years with natural recruitment and regrowth) sites were net carbon sinks (in the order of 100 to 500 g C m-2 y-1) while an old- growth forest was a chronic net source over the 5 years studied (losing between 100 and 300 g C m-2 y-1). In contrast evapotranspiration was alike at sites and close to the precipitation input. Ecosystem water use efficiency tended to be higher at the old-growth forest site (ca. 3.0 g C m-2 /mm H2O vs. ca. 2.0 g C m-2 / mm H2O at the secondary sites). Water availability and radiation where clearly dominant environmental controls across sites, but notably vapor pressure deficit was not a controlling factor for gas exchange at the old-growth forest. Surface characteristics, canopy structure and species composition may explain differences in NEP across succession in TDF at its northernmost extent.