Diverging functional strategies but high sensitivity to an extreme drought in tropical dry forests

Roy González-M., Juan M. Posada, Carlos P. Carmona, Fabián Garzón, Viviana Salinas, Álvaro Idárraga-Piedrahita, Camila Pizano, Andrés Avella, René López-Camacho, Natalia Norden, Jhon Nieto, Sandra P. Medina, Gina M. Rodríguez-M., Rebeca Franke-Ante, Alba M. Torres, Rubén Jurado, Hermes Cuadros, Alejandro Castaño-Naranjo, Hernando García, Beatriz Salgado-Negret

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Extreme drought events have negative effects on forest diversity and functioning. At the species level, however, these effects are still unclear, as species vary in their response to drought through specific functional trait combinations. We used long-term demographic records of 21,821 trees and extensive databases of traits to understand the responses of 338 tropical dry forests tree species to ENSO2015, the driest event in decades in Northern South America. Functional differences between species were related to the hydraulic safety-efficiency trade-off, but unexpectedly, dominant species were characterised by high investment in leaf and wood tissues regardless of their leaf phenological habit. Despite broad functional trait combinations, tree mortality was more widespread in the functional space than tree growth, where less adapted species showed more negative net biomass balances. Our results suggest that if dry conditions increase in this ecosystem, ecological functionality and biomass gain would be reduced.

Translated title of the contributionEstrategias funcionales divergentes pero alta sensibilidad a una sequía extrema en los bosques secos tropicales
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-463
Number of pages13
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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