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Regional and local determinants of drought resilience in tropical forests
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  • Renan Köpp Hollunder,
  • Mário Garbin,
  • Fabio Rubio Scarano,
  • Pierre Mariotte
Renan Köpp Hollunder
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

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Mário Garbin
Federal University of Espirito Santo
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Fabio Rubio Scarano
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
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Pierre Mariotte
Agroscope Location Changins
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The increase in severity of droughts associated with greater mortality and reduced vegetation growth is one of the main threats to tropical forests. Drought resilience of tropical forests is affected by multiple biotic and abiotic factors varying at different scales. Identifying those factors can help understanding the resilience to ongoing and future climate change. Altitude leads to high climate variation and to different forest formations, principally moist or dry tropical forests with contrasted vegetation structure. Each tropical forest can show distinct responses to droughts. Locally, topography is also a key factor controlling biotic and abiotic factors related to drought resilience in each forest type. Both dry tropical forests and ridges (steeper and drier habitats) are more sensitive to droughts than moist tropical forest and valleys (flatter and wetter habitats). The most important biotic factors are leaf economic and hydraulic plant traits, and vegetation structure. The most important abiotic factors are soil nutrients, water availability and microclimate. Here we show that topography has key roles controlling biotic and abiotic factors in each forest type. Our synthesis highlights that gradients of altitude and topography are essential to understand tropical forest’s resilience to future drought events. We described important factors related to drought resilience, however many important knowledge gaps remain. Filling those gaps will help improve future practices and studies about mitigation capacity, conservation, and restoration of tropical ecosystems.
May 2022Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 12 issue 5. 10.1002/ece3.8943