Biomass distribution among tropical tree species grown under differing regional climates

In the Neotropics, there is a growing interest in establishing plantations of native tree species for commerce, local consumption, and to replant on abandoned agricultural lands. Although numerous trial plantations have been established, comparative information on the performance of native trees under different regional environments is generally lacking. In this study, we evaluated the accumulation and partitioning of above-ground biomass in 16 native and two exotic tree species growing in replicated species selection trials in Panama under humid and dry regional environments. Seven of the 18 species accumulated greater total biomass at the humid site than at the dry site over a two-year period. Species-specific biomass partitioning among leaves, branches and trunks was observed. However, a wide range of total biomass found among species (from 1.06 kg for Dipteryx panamensis to 29.84 kg for Acacia mangium at Soberania) justified the used of an Aitchison log ratio transformation to adjust for size. When biomass partitioning was adjusted for size, a majority of these differences proved to be a result of the ability of the tree to support biomass components rather than the result of differences in the regional environments at the two sites. These findings were confirmed by comparative ANCOVAs on Aitchison-transformed and non-Aitchison-transformed variables. In these comparisons, basal diameter, height and diameter at breast height were robust predictors of biomass for the pooled data from both sites, but Aitchison-transformed variables had little predictive power.

Bastien-Henri, Sara Park, Andrew Ashton, P. Mark S. Messier, Christian
Forest Ecology and Management