It turns out that forests in the Andean and western Amazonian regions of South America break long-understood rules about how ecosystems are put together, according to new research.
They discovered that the leaf economics of forests are not as straightforward as scientists once believed.
“We found that Andean and Amazonian forests have evolved into diverse communities that break simple ecological ‘rules’ previously developed through field-based studies. These forests are actually much more interesting and functionally diverse than previously thought, and have sorted themselves out across a variety of environmental templates like geology, elevation and temperature,” Asner added.
It turns out the forests aren’t so simply split between high-rollers and prudent investors either. Rather the authors found a continuum of forest canopy nitrogen, phosphorus, and leaf mass relationships that are sensitive to the enormous range of geophysical conditions found throughout the region. Paper. (paywall) – Gregory P. Asner, David E. Knapp, Christopher B. Anderson, Roberta E. Martin, and Nicholas Vaughn. Large-scale climatic and geophysical controls on the leaf economics spectrum. PNAS, June 2016 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1604863113 More.
File under: Darwinism makes you stupid. Distinguishing between “high rollers” and “prudent savers” was pop Darwinism at its level best. It was based on pop psychology in humans but even humans are not that simple.
See also: Ecology explains less and less
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