Ecosystem respiration and net primary productivity after 8-10 years of experimental through-fall reduction in an eastern Amazon forest

Antonio C.L. da Costa, Daniel B. Metcalfe, Chris E. Doughty, Alexandre A.R. de Oliveira, Guilherme F.C. Neto, Mauricio C. da Costa, João de Athaydes Silva Junior, Luiz E.O.C. Aragão, Samuel Almeida, David R. Galbraith, Lucy M. Rowland, Patrick Meir, Yadvinder Malhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Background: There is much interest in how the Amazon rainforest may respond to future rainfall reduction. However, there are relatively few ecosystem-scale studies to inform this debate. Aims: We described the carbon cycle in a 1 ha rainforest plot subjected to 8-10 consecutive years of ca. 50% through-fall reduction (TFR) and compare these results with those from a nearby, unmodified control plot in eastern Amazonia. Methods: We quantified the components of net primary productivity (NPP), autotrophic (R a) and heterotrophic respiration, and estimate gross primary productivity (GPP, the sum of NPP and R a) and carbon-use efficiency (CUE, the ratio of NPP/GPP). Results: The TFR forest exhibited slightly lower NPP but slightly higher R a, such that forest CUE was 0.29 ± 0.04 on the control plot but 0.25 ± 0.03 on the TFR plot. Compared with four years earlier, TFR plot leaf area index and small tree growth recovered and soil heterotrophic respiration had risen. Conclusions: This analysis tested and extended the key findings of a similar analysis 4 years earlier in the TFR treatment. The results indicated that, while the forest recovered from extended drought in some respects, it maintained higher overall R a relative to the undroughted control, potentially causing the droughted forest to act as a net source of CO2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-24
Number of pages18
JournalPlant Ecology and Diversity
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • CUE
  • Caxiuanã National Forest Reserve
  • GPP
  • NPP
  • PCE
  • biomass allocation
  • carbon cycling
  • climate change
  • drought
  • tropical rainforest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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