Frans Bongers

Frans Bongers
Wageningen University & Research | WUR · Department of Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group

About

430
Publications
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Introduction

Publications

Publications (430)
Article
Full-text available
The latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is one of the most recognized global patterns of species richness exhibited across a wide range of taxa. Numerous hypotheses have been proposed in the past two centuries to explain LDG, but rigorous tests of the drivers of LDGs have been limited by a lack of high-quality global species richness data. Here we...
Article
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Tropical agricultural frontiers are rapidly changing and present unique opportunities to reconcile ecosystem services (ES) provision, biodiversity conservation, and livelihood maintenance of rural communities. To understand the dynamics of these frontiers, we analyzed preferences, reasons associated with importance, and spatial perceptions of ES an...
Article
With increasing concerns about sustainable exploitation of tropical timber, there is a need for developing independent tools to check their origin. We evaluated the potential of tree-ring stable isotopes for identifying four Cedrela species (C. balansae, C. fissilis, C. odorata, and C. saltensis) and for identifying geographic origin of C. fissilis...
Article
Full-text available
Forests that regrow naturally on abandoned fields are important for restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services, but can they also preserve the distinct regional tree floras? Using the floristic composition of 1215 early successional forests (≤20 years) in 75 human-modified landscapes across the Neotropic realm, we identified 14 distinct floristi...
Article
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Lianas are predicted to perform better than trees during seasonal drought among tropical forests, which has substantial implications for tree and forest dynamics. Here, we use whole-plant trait comparison to test whether lianas allocated on the resource acquisitive end of the continuum of woody plant strategies. We measured morphological and biomas...
Article
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Data capturing multiple axes of tree size and shape, such as a tree's stem diameter, height and crown size, underpin a wide range of ecological research - from developing and testing theory on forest structure and dynamics, to estimating forest carbon stocks and their uncertainties, and integrating remote sensing imagery into forest monitoring prog...
Article
Water availability is the major driver of tropical forest structure and dynamics. Most research has focused on the impacts of climatic water availability, whereas remarkably little is known about the influence of water table depth and excess soil water on forest processes. Nevertheless, given that plants take up water from the soil, the impacts of...
Article
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Forest regrowth is key to achieve restoration commitments, but a general lack of understanding when it occurs and how long secondary forests persist hampers effective upscaling. We quantified spatiotemporal forest dynamics in a recently colonized agricultural frontier in southern Mexico, and tested how temporal variation in climate, and cross-commu...
Article
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Among tropical forests, lianas are predicted to have a growth advantage over trees during seasonal drought, with substantial implications for tree and forest dynamics. We tested the hypotheses that lianas maintain higher water status than trees during seasonal drought and that lianas maximize leaf cover to match high, dry‐season light conditions wh...
Article
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Assessing the mechanisms underlying drought tolerance is important for understanding current species distribution along rainfall gradients and for predicting how species may respond to climate change. We evaluated the hypothesis that species exhibit a trade-off between drought avoidance and physiological drought tolerance and a trade-off between ra...
Article
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One of the most fundamental questions in ecology is how many species inhabit the Earth. However, due to massive logistical and financial challenges and taxonomic difficulties connected to the species concept definition, the global numbers of species, including those of important and well-studied life forms such as trees, still remain largely unknow...
Article
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CONTEXT The ecosystem services (ES) concept has brought together research on ecosystems, biodiversity and human well-being, but critical challenges remain to make ES operational. ES assessments are relevant tools in multi-purpose landscapes, such as agricultural landscapes situated within natural protected areas where the challenge is to meet both...
Article
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Significance Tree diversity is fundamental for forest ecosystem stability and services. However, because of limited available data, estimates of tree diversity at large geographic domains still rely heavily on published lists of species descriptions that are geographically uneven in coverage. These limitations have precluded efforts to generate a g...
Article
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For monitoring and reporting forest carbon stocks and fluxes, many countries in the tropics and subtropics rely on default values of forest aboveground biomass (AGB) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories. Default IPCC forest AGB values originated from 2006, and are relativ...
Article
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Understanding how evolutionary history and the coordination between trait trade-off axes shape the drought tolerance of trees is crucial to predict forest dynamics under climate change. Here, we compiled traits related to drought tolerance and the fast-slow and stature-recruitment trade-off axes in 601 tropical woody species to explore their covari...
Article
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The recovery of soil conditions is crucial for successful ecosystem restoration and, hence, for achieving the goals of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Here, we assess how soils resist forest conversion and agricultural land use, and how soils recover during subsequent tropical forest succession on abandoned agricultural fields. Our overarch...
Article
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Resilient secondary tropical forests? Although deforestation is rampant across the tropics, forest has a strong capacity to regrow on abandoned lands. These “secondary” forests may increasingly play important roles in biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and landscape restoration. Poorter et al . analyzed the patterns of recovery i...
Article
Significance Tropical forests disappear rapidly through deforestation but also have the potential to regrow naturally through a process called secondary succession. To advance successional theory, it is essential to understand how these secondary forests and their assembly vary across broad spatial scales. We do so by synthesizing continental-scale...
Article
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Forest restoration increases global forest area and ecosystem services such as primary productivity and carbon storage. How tree species functional composition impacts the provisioning of these services as forests develop is sparsely studied. We used 10-year data from 478 plots with 191,200 trees in a forest biodiversity experiment in subtropical C...
Article
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An unprecedented magnitude of land-use/land-cover changes have led to a rapid conversion of tropical forested landscapes to different land-uses. This comparative study evaluates and reconstructs the recent history (1976–2019) of land-use change and the associated land-use types that have emerged over time in two neighboring rural villages in Southe...
Article
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1. Engineering resilience, a forest’s ability to maintain its properties in the event of disturbance, comprises two components: resistance and recovery. In human‐dominated landscapes, forest resilience depends mostly on recovery. Forest recovery largely depends on autogenic regulation, which entails a negative feedback loop between rates of change...
Article
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1. Early pioneer species share life histories enabling them to colonize disturbed sites, but how much they differ demographically and how such differentiation determines pioneer species turnover during succession are still open questions. Here, we approached these issues by comparing the demography of dominant pioneer tree species during the old‐fi...
Article
Aim Here we examine the functional profile of regional tree species pools across the latitudinal distribution of Neotropical moist forests, and test trait–climate relationships among local communities. We expected opportunistic strategies (acquisitive traits, small seeds) to be overrepresented in species pools further from the equator, but also in...
Preprint
Lianas are a distinctive component of tropical forests and their increase in abundance may have profound ramifications for forest composition and ecosystem functioning. However, so far, the current view considers lianas as a single, functional plant type and, therefore, ignores the life history differences among species resulting from their climbin...
Article
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Light is a key resource for tree performance and hence, tree species partition spatial and temporal gradients in light availability. Although light distribution drives tree performance and species replacement during secondary forest succession, we yet lack understanding how light distribution changes with tropical forest development. This study aim...
Article
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The concept of ecosystem services (ES) and related conceptual frameworks like the cascade model, can be relevant to explore the ways through which people and nature are connected and how the benefits of nature, upon which people depend, are realised. An integrated cascade framework was used to study the ES pathway of pine resin, a traded forest pro...
Article
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Secondary forests are increasingly important components of human‐modified landscapes in the tropics. Successional pathways, however, can vary enormously across and within landscapes, with divergent regrowth rates, vegetation structure and species composition. While climatic and edaphic conditions drive variations across regions, land‐use history pl...
Article
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1. Lianas are increasing in relative abundance and biomass in many tropical forests. We tested the hypothesis that lianas conform to the fast and acquisitive end of the continuum of plant strategies, allowing lianas to acquire resources faster than trees. 2. We assessed functional traits representative of the leaf (LES) and wood economics spectrum...
Article
Abiotic and biotic filters may play differential roles in the plant community organization along forest succession in abandoned fields. However, little is known about how life stage-specific filters influence species replacement during succession. We approach this issue by analyzing changes in community attributes (abundance, species density, speci...
Article
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20537-x
Article
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Aim Tree crowns determine light interception, carbon and water exchange. Thus, understanding the factors causing tree crown allometry to vary at the tree and stand level matters greatly for the development of future vegetation modelling and for the calibration of remote sensing products. Nevertheless, we know little about large‐scale variation and...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Tree crowns determine light interception, carbon and water exchange. Thus, understanding the factors causing tree crown allometry to vary at the tree and stand level matters greatly for the development of future vegetation modelling and for the calibration of remote sensing products. Nevertheless, we know little about large‐scale variation and...
Article
Full-text available
The carbon sink capacity of tropical forests is substantially affected by tree mortality. However, the main drivers of tropical tree death remain largely unknown. Here we present a pan-Amazonian assessment of how and why trees die, analysing over 120,000 trees representing > 3800 species from 189 long-term RAINFOR forest plots. While tree mortality...
Conference Paper
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Across the Amazon basin, indigenous communities harbor a deep understanding of their surrounding ecosystems. However, the extent to which humans depend on ecosystem services across different ethnic groups and spatial scales remains poorly understood. The purpose of this study is to understand the role of ecological processes in determining the huma...
Article
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Lianas rely on trees for support and access to high‐light positions in the forest canopy, but the implications for how lianas explore the canopy compared to trees remain understudied. We present an in situ forest canopy study to test the hypotheses that: (1) lianas favour leaf display over stem investment compared to trees and (2) lianas have great...
Article
Full-text available
The carbon sink capacity of tropical forests is substantially affected by tree mortality. However, the main drivers of tropical tree death remain largely unknown. Here we present a pan-Amazonian assessment of how and why trees die, analysing over 120,000 trees representing > 3800 species from 189 long-term RAINFOR forest plots. While tree mortality...
Article
Full-text available
Farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR) is promoted as a cost-effective technique to restore degraded arable drylands. Evidence comes mainly from the West-African Sahel, where it is a traditional practice, and it is now being promoted across the African continent. In this study, we evaluated the role of the farmer affecting natural regeneration...
Article
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Questions: Lianas are a conspicuous element of tropical forests but have largely been ignored in species–level vegetation surveys. As a result, there is a limited understanding of how environmental factors structure liana communities. Location: A 20–ha forest dynamics plot in Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve, Southwest China. Methods We evalu...
Article
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Farmer‑managed natural regeneration (FMNR) is being promoted for restoration beyond its original range in the Sahel. fMnR involves farmers selecting and managing natural regeneration on their fields, while keeping them under the primary function of agricultural production. However, little is known about what regenerates in different contexts, even...
Article
Full-text available
Farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) is being promoted for restoration beyond its original range in the Sahel. fMnR involves farmers selecting and managing natural regeneration on their fields, while keeping them under the primary function of agricultural production. However, little is known about what regenerates in different contexts, even...
Article
Full-text available
The carbon sink capacity of tropical forests is substantially affected by tree mortality. However, the main drivers of tropical tree death remain largely unknown. Here we present a pan-Amazonian assessment of how and why trees die, analysing over 120,000 trees representing > 3800 species from 189 long-term RAINFOR forest plots. While tree mortality...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Palms are an iconic, diverse and often abundant component of tropical ecosystems that provide many ecosystem services. Being monocots, tree palms are evolutionarily, morphologically and physiologically distinct from other trees, and these differences have important consequences for ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration and storage) and...
Article
We assessed seven decades of change in the largest known population of the endangered endemic Boswellia elongata Balf. F. (Burseraceae) on Socotra Island (Yemen). To quantify the population change we evaluated tree number and locations on digitized images from various sources in the period 1956–2017 and combined this with direct field measurements...
Article
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Ecosystem service (ES) assessments, which make an explicit link between nature and people’s well-being, can support the management of natural protected areas that face complex and persistent sustainability challenges. We present a case study of ES supply in a biosphere reserve community in southern Mexico. We aimed to identify stakeholder-relevant...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Palms are an iconic, diverse and often abundant component of tropical ecosystems that provide many ecosystem services. Being monocots, tree palms are evolutionarily, morphologically and physiologically distinct from other trees, and these differences have important consequences for ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration and storage) an...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is predicted to affect tree growth due to increased frequency and intensity of extreme events such as ice storms, droughts and heatwaves. Yet, there is still a lot of uncertainty on how trees respond to an increase in frequency of extreme events. Use of both ground-based wood increment (i.e. ring width) and remotely sensed data (i.e....
Article
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The sensitivity of tropical forest carbon to climate is a key uncertainty in predicting global climate change. Although short-term drying and warming are known to affect forests, it is unknown if such effects translate into long-term responses. Here, we analyze 590 permanent plots measured across the tropics to derive the equilibrium climate contro...
Article
The sensitivity of tropical forest carbon to climate is a key uncertainty in predicting global climate change. Although short-term drying and warming are known to affect forests, it is unknown if such effects translate into long-term responses. Here, we analyze 590 permanent plots measured across the tropics to derive the equilibrium climate contro...
Article
Full-text available
AimsThe extent and persistence of pre-Columbian human legacies in old-growth Amazonian forests are still controversial, partly because modern societies re-occupied old settlements, challenging the distinction between pre- and post-Columbian legacies. Here, we compared the effects of pre-Columbian vs. recent landscape domestication processes on soil...
Article
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Lianas, woody climbing plants, are increasing in many tropical forests, with cascading effects such as decreased forest productivity, carbon sequestration, and resilience. Possible causes are increasing forest fragmentation, CO2 fertilization, and drought. Determining the primary changing species and their underlying vital rates help explain the li...
Article
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Understanding the relationship between stand-level tree diversity and productivity has the potential to inform the science and management of forests. History shows that plant diversity-productivity relationships are challenging to interpret—and this remains true for the study of forests using non-experimental field data. Here we highlight pitfalls...
Article
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Conifers and broadleaved trees coexist in temperate forests and are expected to differ in partitioning strategies between leaf and stem. We compare functional balances between water loss and water supply, and between sugar production and sugar transport/storage and associate these with xylem growth to better understand how they contribute to these...
Article
Extensions of forest-transition theory to the tropics often depict sustained expansions of planted tree cover and corresponding long-term net gains in total tree cover. To explore the patterns and implications of continued tropical planted tree-cover expansion, we profiled sequences of tree-cover change over 1990–2010 according to Landsat imagery f...
Article
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As countries advance in greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting for climate change mitigation, consistent estimates of aboveground net biomass change (∆AGB) are needed. Countries with limited forest monitoring capabilities in the tropics and subtropics rely on IPCC 2006 default ∆AGB rates, which are values per ecological zone, per continent. Similarly, res...
Article
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The harvest of plant parts and exudates from wild populations contributes to the income, food security and livelihoods of many millions of people worldwide. Frankincense, an aromatic resin sourced from natural populations of Boswellia trees and shrubs, has been cherished by world societies for centuries. Boswellia populations are threatened by over...