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However, the contribution each species makes to biomass stocks and wood production depends not only on its abundance, but also on the functional properties of the individual trees of the species.In particular, the size of a tree, its lifespan, growth rate and the density of its wood all determine how much carbon it stores and for how long.Just 182 species, or 5.3% of the 3,458 identified species in the data set, were classed as biomass hyperdominants (that is, those species that collectively account for 50% of biomass).Only 184 species, or 6.4% of the 2,883 identified species in the productivity data set, were classed as productivity hyperdominants (Table 1).
with additional north–south separation of the western Amazon; BS—Brazilian shield, EC—east central, GS—Guiana shield, NW—north western, SW—south western.
The abundance, biomass and productivity of all species in the data set are provided as a data package ( DOI: 10.5521/FORESTPLOTS. The stem hyperdominant species contribute considerably to the total biomass and productivity, albeit with considerable scatter (Fig. The relative contribution of a species to the total number of stems was a good predictor of its contribution to total biomass (F=12,360, df=3,456, P=0.66) with all variables on a log scale.
Yet, among hyperdominants, the individual ranking of importance in terms of stem abundance is a poor predictor of its functional contribution—of the top 20 stem hyperdominants, most are absent from the equivalent top biomass and productivity lists (Table 2 and Supplementary Tables 1 and 2).
While Amazonian forests are extraordinarily diverse, the abundance of trees is skewed strongly towards relatively few ‘hyperdominant’ species.
In addition to their diversity, Amazonian trees are a key component of the global carbon cycle, assimilating and storing more carbon than any other ecosystem on Earth.
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All curves are based on the reduced productivity data set, curves for biomass and stems are very similar when using the full data set (data not shown).