Precipitation controls on nutrient budgets in subtropical and tropical forests and the implications under changing climate

Chung Te Chang, Lih Jih Wang, Jr Chuan Huang, Chiung Pin Liu, Chiao Ping Wang, Neng Huei Lin, Lixin Wang, Teng Chiu Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Biological, geological and hydrological drivers collectively control forest biogeochemical cycling. However, based on a close examination of recent literature, we argue that the role of hydrological control particularly precipitation on nutrient budgets is significantly underestimated in subtropical and tropical forests, hindering our predictions of future forest nutrient status under a changing climate in these systems. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed two decades of monthly nutrient input and output data in precipitation and streamwater from a subtropical forested watershed in Taiwan, one of the few sites that has long-term nutrient input-output data in the tropics and subtropics. The results showed that monthly input and output of all ions and budgets (output – input) of most ions were positively correlated with precipitation quantity and there was a surprisingly greater net ion export during the wet growing season, indicating strong precipitation control on the nutrient budget. The strong precipitation control is also supported by the divergence of acidic precipitation and near neutral acidity of streamwater, with the former being independent from precipitation quantity but the latter being positively related to precipitation quantity. An additional synthesis of annual precipitation quantity and nutrient budgets of 32 forests across the globe showed a strong correlation between precipitation quantity and nutrient output-input budget, indicating that strong precipitation control is ubiquitous at the global scale and is particularly important in the humid tropical and subtropical forests. Our results imply that climate change could directly affect ecosystem nutrient cycling in the tropics through changes in precipitation pattern and amount.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Volume103
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1

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nutrient budget
tropical forest
streamwater
nutrient
climate
ion
nutrient cycling
wet season
acidity
growing season
divergence
watershed
climate change
ecosystem
prediction
tropics
budget

Keywords

  • Biogeochemistry
  • Ecohydrology
  • Fushan Experimental Forest
  • Nutrient budget
  • Precipitation control
  • Tropical forests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Precipitation controls on nutrient budgets in subtropical and tropical forests and the implications under changing climate. / Chang, Chung Te; Wang, Lih Jih; Huang, Jr Chuan; Liu, Chiung Pin; Wang, Chiao Ping; Lin, Neng Huei; Wang, Lixin; Lin, Teng Chiu.

In: Advances in Water Resources, Vol. 103, 01.05.2017, p. 44-50.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Chang, Chung Te ; Wang, Lih Jih ; Huang, Jr Chuan ; Liu, Chiung Pin ; Wang, Chiao Ping ; Lin, Neng Huei ; Wang, Lixin ; Lin, Teng Chiu. / Precipitation controls on nutrient budgets in subtropical and tropical forests and the implications under changing climate. In: Advances in Water Resources. 2017 ; Vol. 103. pp. 44-50.
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AB - Biological, geological and hydrological drivers collectively control forest biogeochemical cycling. However, based on a close examination of recent literature, we argue that the role of hydrological control particularly precipitation on nutrient budgets is significantly underestimated in subtropical and tropical forests, hindering our predictions of future forest nutrient status under a changing climate in these systems. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed two decades of monthly nutrient input and output data in precipitation and streamwater from a subtropical forested watershed in Taiwan, one of the few sites that has long-term nutrient input-output data in the tropics and subtropics. The results showed that monthly input and output of all ions and budgets (output – input) of most ions were positively correlated with precipitation quantity and there was a surprisingly greater net ion export during the wet growing season, indicating strong precipitation control on the nutrient budget. The strong precipitation control is also supported by the divergence of acidic precipitation and near neutral acidity of streamwater, with the former being independent from precipitation quantity but the latter being positively related to precipitation quantity. An additional synthesis of annual precipitation quantity and nutrient budgets of 32 forests across the globe showed a strong correlation between precipitation quantity and nutrient output-input budget, indicating that strong precipitation control is ubiquitous at the global scale and is particularly important in the humid tropical and subtropical forests. Our results imply that climate change could directly affect ecosystem nutrient cycling in the tropics through changes in precipitation pattern and amount.

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