Predicting tropical tree mortality with leaf spectroscopy

  • Christopher Doughty (Contributor)
  • Alexander W. Cheesman (Contributor)
  • Andrew T. Nottingham (Contributor)



Do tropical trees close to death have a distinct change to their leaf spectral signature? Tree mortality rates have been increasing in tropical forests globally, reducing the global carbon sink. Upcoming hyperspectral satellites could be used to predict regions close to experiencing extensive tree mortality during periods of stress, such as drought. Here we show, for a tropical rainforest in Borneo, how imminent tropical tree mortality impacts leaf physiological traits and reflectance. We measured leaf reflectance (400-2500 nm), light saturated photosynthesis (Asat), leaf dark respiration (Rdark), leaf mass area (LMA) and % leaf water across five campaigns in a six-month period during which there were two causes of tree mortality: a major natural drought and a co-incident tree stem girdling treatment. We find that prior to mortality, there were significant (P
Date made availableNov 12 2020

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