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Seasonality of above-ground net primary productivity along an Andean altitudinal transect in Peru

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 August 2014

C. A. J. Girardin*
Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
Y. Malhi
Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
K. J. Feeley
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, USA
J. M. Rapp
Tufts University, Department of Biology, 163 Packard Avenue, Medford, MA 02155, USA
M. R. Silman
Wake Forest University, Department of Biology and Centre for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, 1834 Wake Forest Road, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
P. Meir
Edinburgh University, School of Geosciences, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JN, UK
W. Huaraca Huasco
Universidad San Antonio Abad, Cusco, Peru
N. Salinas
Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK Universidad San Antonio Abad, Cusco, Peru
M. Mamani
Universidad San Antonio Abad, Cusco, Peru
J. E. Silva-Espejo
Universidad San Antonio Abad, Cusco, Peru
K. García Cabrera
Wake Forest University, Department of Biology and Centre for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, 1834 Wake Forest Road, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
W. Farfan Rios
Wake Forest University, Department of Biology and Centre for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, 1834 Wake Forest Road, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
D. B. Metcalfe
Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden
C. E. Doughty
Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
L. E. O. C. Aragão
School of Geography, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter EX4 4RJ, UK
1Corresponding author. Email:


Solar irradiance and precipitation are the most likely drivers of the seasonal variation of net primary productivity (NPP) in tropical forests. Since their roles remain poorly understood, we use litter traps, dendrometer bands and census data collected from one hectare permanent plots to quantify the seasonality of above-ground NPP components and weather parameters in 13 sites distributed along a 2800-m altitudinal gradient ranging from lowland Amazonia to the high Andes. We combine canopy leaf area index and litterfall data to describe the seasonality of canopy production. We hypothesize that solar irradiance is the primary driver of canopy phenology in wetter sites, whereas precipitation drives phenology in drier systems. The seasonal rhythm of canopy NPP components is in synchrony with solar irradiance at all altitudes. Leaf litterfall peaks in the late dry season, both in lowland (averaging 0.54 ± 0.08 Mg C ha y−1, n = 5) and montane forests (averaging 0.29 ± 0.04 Mg C ha y−1, n = 8). Peaks in above-ground coarse woody NPP appears to be triggered by the onset of rainfall in seasonal lowland rain forests (averaging 0.26 ± 0.04 Mg C ha y−1, n = 5, in November), but not in montane cloud forests.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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