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How does climate change Impact island rainforests: first measurements in The Lesser Antilles archipelago

Abstract : Rainforests in tropical islands are characterized by high endemism and unusual structures. Canopies are lower than in continental areas with a similar climate, but the number of trees per hectare is much higher. It is likely that these structural attributes are due to the frequency of hurricanes but also more generally to some peculiarities of island climates. Recent works show that in areas where plants are subject to seasonal drought, the metabolism of tropical trees negatively responds to rising temperatures and rainfall reduction. Given the particularities of island ecosystems, we wanted to study the behavior of forests growing in climates without true dry season. The results obtained on four 1-hectare plots (4312 trees) show that during the last nine years, tree growth has accelerated and at the same time, tree mortality has increased - although the estimation of mortality is more uncertain. These joint trends reflect a significant acceleration in the turnover of tree stands. The measurements carried out thanks to the "Forest Ecosystems Observatory" put in place since 2010, demonstrate that the Caribbean island rainforests are impacted by the current climate change and that they respond in a singular way. The results obtained do not provide information on changes in biodiversity or loss of endemic species, but they suggest that Lesser-Antilles rainforests are reducing their carbon storage capacity.
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Contributor : Eliane Falco <>
Submitted on : Friday, April 24, 2020 - 3:26:15 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 2:57:32 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-02553567, version 1


Alain Rousteau, Marc Gayot, Mathieu Jegu. How does climate change Impact island rainforests: first measurements in The Lesser Antilles archipelago. Caribbean Science and Innovation Meeting 2019, Oct 2019, Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe), France. ⟨hal-02553567⟩



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