Ecology

Productive Trees

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Science  09 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6184, pp. 558
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6184.558-a
CREDIT: ANDREA PISTOLESI/GETTY IMAGES

Forests in tropical Asia may capture carbon and produce wood half as fast again as South American forests. Banin et al. compared the growth rates of trees (as above-ground woody production) in permanent forest plots in northwest Amazonia and northern Borneo and found that Bornean forests produced wood at a 49% faster rate than their Amazonian counterparts. The differences remained even when soil conditions and rainfall were controlled for. The greater production in Borneo may partly reflect higher solar radiation, but another important factor appears to be the different tree species composition: Species of the dominant Southeast Asian tree family Dipterocarpaceae exhibit significantly higher production than other tree species in the sampled plots. These results suggest a potential for a key role for dipterocarp forest conservation and restoration to maintain and enhance carbon sequestration.

J. Ecol. 1111/1365-2745.12263 (2014).

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