Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 565479
Title Data from: Patterns of nitrogen-fixing tree abundance in forests across Asia and America
Author(s) Menge, Duncan N.L.; Chisholm, Ryan A.; Davies, Stuart J.; Abu Salim, Kamariah; Allen, David; Alvarez, Mauricio; Bourg, Norm; Brockelman, Warren Y.; Bunyavejchewin, Sarayudh; Butt, Nathalie; Ouden, Jan den; Jansen, Patrick
Source Dryad
DOI https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.t1s010m
Department(s) PE&RC
Forest Ecology and Forest Management
Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Publication type Dataset
Publication year 2019
Keyword(s) Determinants of plant community diversity and structure - Forest - Smithsonian ForestGEO - legume - symbiosis - nutrient limitation - nitrogen fixation
Abstract Symbiotic nitrogen (N)‐fixing trees can provide large quantities of new N to ecosystems, but only if they are sufficiently abundant. The overall abundance and latitudinal abundance distributions of N‐fixing trees are well characterised in the Americas, but less well outside the Americas. Here, we characterised the abundance of N‐fixing trees in a network of forest plots spanning five continents, ~5,000 tree species and ~4 million trees. The majority of the plots (86%) were in America or Asia. In addition, we examined whether the observed pattern of abundance of N‐fixing trees was correlated with mean annual temperature and precipitation. Outside the tropics, N‐fixing trees were consistently rare in the forest plots we examined. Within the tropics, N‐fixing trees were abundant in American but not Asian forest plots (~7% versus ~1% of basal area and stems). This disparity was not explained by mean annual temperature or precipitation. Our finding of low N‐fixing tree abundance in the Asian tropics casts some doubt on recent high estimates of N fixation rates in this region, which do not account for disparities in N‐fixing tree abundance between the Asian and American tropics. Synthesis. Inputs of nitrogen to forests depend on symbiotic nitrogen fixation, which is constrained by the abundance of N‐fixing trees. By analysing a large dataset of ~4 million trees, we found that N‐fixing trees were consistently rare in the Asian tropics as well as across higher latitudes in Asia, America and Europe. The rarity of N‐fixing trees in the Asian tropics compared with the American tropics might stem from lower intrinsic N limitation in Asian tropical forests, although direct support for any mechanism is lacking. The paucity of N‐fixing trees throughout Asian forests suggests that N inputs to the Asian tropics might be lower than previously thought.
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