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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 389409, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/389409
Research Article

Are Commonly Measured Functional Traits Involved in Tropical Tree Responses to Climate?

1Remote Sensing Division, National Institute for Space Research (INPE), 12227-010 São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil
2CIRAD, UMR Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane, 97379 Kourou, France
3Université de Yaoundé 1, UMI 209 Modélisation Mathématique et Informatique de Systèmes Complexes, BP337 Yaoundé, Cameroon
4INRA, UMR Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane, 97379 Kourou, France
5INRA, UMR INRA-UHP 1137 Ecologie et Ecophysiologie Forestière, 54280 Champenoux, France
6CIRAD, UMR Systèmes d’Elevage en Milieux Méditerranéens et Tropicaux, 97379 Kourou, France

Received 7 March 2014; Revised 30 May 2014; Accepted 30 May 2014; Published 25 June 2014

Academic Editor: Pavlos Kassomenos

Copyright © 2014 Fabien Wagner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Climate models predict significant rainfall reduction in Amazonia, reducing water availability for trees. We present how functional traits modulate the tree growth response to climate. We used data from 3 years of bimestrial growth measurements for 204 trees of 53 species in the forest of Paracou, French Guiana. We integrated climate variables from an eddy covariance tower and functional trait values describing life history, leaf, and stem economics. Our results indicated that the measured functional traits are to some extent linked to the response of trees to climate but they are poor predictors of the tree climate-induced growth variation. Tree growth was affected by water availability for most of the species with different species growth strategies in drought conditions. These strategies were linked to some functional traits, especially maximum height and wood density. These results suggest that (i) trees seem adapted to the dry season at Paracou but they show different growth responses to drought, (ii) drought response is linked to growth strategy and is partly explained by functional traits, and (iii) the limited part of the variation of tree growth explained by functional traits may be a strong limiting factor for the prediction of tree growth response to climate.