Neighbourhood‐mediated shifts in tree biomass allocation drive overyielding in tropical species mixtures

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Variations in crown forms promote canopy space‐use and productivity in mixed‐species forests. However, we have a limited understanding on how this response is mediated by changes in within‐tree biomass allocation. Here, we explored the role of changes in tree allometry, biomass allocation and architecture in shaping diversity‐productivity relationships in the oldest tropical tree diversity experiment. We conducted whole‐tree destructive biomass measurements and terrestrial laser scanning. Spatially explicit models were built at the tree level to investigate the effects of tree size and local neighbourhood conditions. Results were then upscaled to the stand level, and mixture effects were explored using a bootstrapping procedure. Biomass allocation and architecture substantially changed in mixtures, which resulted from both tree‐size effects and neighbourhood‐mediated plasticity. Shifts in biomass allocation among branch orders explained substantial shares of the observed overyielding. Contrastingly, root‐to‐shoot ratios, as well as the allometric relationships between tree basal area and above‐ground biomass, were little affected by the local neighbourhood. Our results suggest that generic allometric equations can be used to estimate forest above‐ground biomass overyielding from diameter inventory data. Overall, we demonstrate that shifts in tree biomass allocation are mediated by the local neighbourhood and promote diversity‐productivity relationships in tropical forests.
ZeitschriftNew Phytologist
Seiten (von - bis)1256-1268
Anzahl der Seiten13
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 11.2020


  • Ökosystemforschung - biodiversity, carbon sequestration, ecosystem functioning, forest productivity, overyielding, Sardinilla experiment, tree species diversity, tropical plantation forest