• 1 Earth and Environmental Science, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA.
  • 2 Forest Global Earth Observatory, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD, USA
  • 3 Earth and Environmental Science, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA
  • 4 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
  • 5 Forest Global Earth Observatory, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Washington, DC, USA
  • 6 Forest Global Earth Observatory, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, VA, USA
  • 7 Research Office, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 8 Climate and Ecosystems Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA
  • 9 Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan
  • 10 Department of Life Science, Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan
  • 11 Department of Botany and Plant Physiology, University of Buea, Buea, Cameroon
  • 12 Field Museum, Chicago, IL, USA
  • 13 Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Hilo, HI, USA
  • 14 Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kepong, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
  • 15 Department of Geography, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, USA
  • 16 Department of Botany, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
  • 17 Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 18 Center for Tropical Forest Science-Forest Global Earth Observatory, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, Republic of Panama
  • 19 Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, USA
  • 20 Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
  • 21 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore
  • 22 Sarawak Forestry Department, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
  • 23 Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
  • 24 Department of Biology, University of Hawaii, Hilo, HI, USA
  • 25 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 26 Department of Biology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • 27 National Dong Hwa University, Hualian, Taiwan
  • 28 School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA, USA
  • 29 Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, UK
  • 30 Department of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  • 31 Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador
  • 32 Far Eastern University, Manila, Philippines
  • 33 Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies, College of Natural Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico
  • 34 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA
Nat Ecol Evol, 2018 09;2(9):1436-1442.
PMID: 30104751 DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0626-z


Survival rates of large trees determine forest biomass dynamics. Survival rates of small trees have been linked to mechanisms that maintain biodiversity across tropical forests. How species survival rates change with size offers insight into the links between biodiversity and ecosystem function across tropical forests. We tested patterns of size-dependent tree survival across the tropics using data from 1,781 species and over 2 million individuals to assess whether tropical forests can be characterized by size-dependent life-history survival strategies. We found that species were classifiable into four 'survival modes' that explain life-history variation that shapes carbon cycling and the relative abundance within forests. Frequently collected functional traits, such as wood density, leaf mass per area and seed mass, were not generally predictive of the survival modes of species. Mean annual temperature and cumulative water deficit predicted the proportion of biomass of survival modes, indicating important links between evolutionary strategies, climate and carbon cycling. The application of survival modes in demographic simulations predicted biomass change across forest sites. Our results reveal globally identifiable size-dependent survival strategies that differ across diverse systems in a consistent way. The abundance of survival modes and interaction with climate ultimately determine forest structure, carbon storage in biomass and future forest trajectories.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.