Renato Valencia

Renato Valencia
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador | PUCE · Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas

PhD

About

150
Publications
117,817
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Introduction
I am interested in tropical forest ecology with focus on how so many tree species can coexist in small areas and the mechanisms that allow tropical trees to be rare or common. I also explore how climatic changes are affecting species composition and abundance. Communicating science for conservation of plants and natural forests is one of my goals.
Additional affiliations
May 1994 - February 2016
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador
Position
  • Principal Investigator

Publications

Publications (150)
Article
Populations of many tropical tree species are regulated by negative distance‐ and density‐dependent processes (NDD), yet most studies on the effects of conspecific seedling and adult neighbors on seedling survival have focused on animal‐dispersed species. Species with seeds dispersed by wind may not be moved as far on average as seeds dispersed by...
Article
Full-text available
1. Organisms of all species must balance their allocation to growth, survival and recruitment. Among tree species, evolution has resulted in different life‐history strategies for partitioning resources to these key demographic processes. Life‐history strategies in tropical forests have often been shown to align along a trade‐off between fast growth...
Article
The growth and survival of individual trees determine the physical structure of a forest with important consequences for forest function. However, given the diversity of tree species and forest biomes, quantifying the multitude of demographic strategies within and across forests and the way that they translate into forest structure and function rem...
Preprint
All species must balance their allocation to growth, survival and recruitment. Among trees, evolution has resulted in different strategies of partitioning resources to these key demographic processes, i.e. demographic trade-offs. It is unclear whether the same demographic trade-offs structure tropical forests worldwide. Here, we used data from 13 l...
Preprint
All species must balance their allocation to growth, survival and recruitment. Among trees, evolution has resulted in different strategies of partitioning resources to these key demographic processes, i.e. demographic trade-offs. It is unclear whether the same demographic trade-offs structure tropical forests worldwide. Here, we used data from 13 l...
Article
The Andean forests of northern Ecuador are known for their high levels of plant diversity relative to the area they occupy. Typically, these forests grow on steep slopes that lead to dramatic habitat gradients across short distances. These extreme habitat gradients make the Andean forest ecosystem an excellent natural laboratory for understanding t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Phenology has long been hypothesized as an avenue for niche partitioning or interspecific facilitation, both promoting species coexistence. Tropical plant communities exhibit striking diversity in reproductive phenology, including seasonal patterns of fruit production. Here we study whether this phenological diversity is non-random, what are the te...
Article
en Climate change is altering forest dynamics in the tropics, with large potential impacts on forest structure and understory conditions. However, we found that canopy height distribution and openness remained stable over two decades in the western Amazon, and that gap creation rates would need to increase 300% before affecting equilibrium. Abstrac...
Research
Observed changes in (a) maximum and (b) average canopy height, (c) canopy openness, and (d) understory density in the period 1998-2019 in six forest plots in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
Article
The extent to which historical dispersal, environmental features and geographic barriers shape the phylogenetic structure and turnover of tree communities in northwestern Amazonia at multiple spatial scales remains poorly understood. We used 85 floristically standardized 0.1‐ha plots (DBH ≥ 2.5 cm) distributed in three subregions of northwestern (N...
Article
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Legumes provide an essential service to ecosystems by capturing nitrogen from the atmosphere and delivering it to the soil, where it may then be available to other plants. However, this facilitation by legumes has not been widely studied in global tropical forests. Demographic data from 11 large forest plots (16–60 ha) ranging from 5.25° S to 29.25...
Article
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Among the local processes that determine species diversity in ecological communities, fluctuation‐dependent mechanisms that are mediated by temporal variability in the abundances of species populations have received significant attention. Higher temporal variability in the abundances of species populations can increase the strength of temporal nich...
Article
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Highlighting patterns of distribution and assembly of plants involves the use of community phylogenetic analyses and complementary traditional taxonomic metrics. However, these patterns are often unknown or in dispute, particularly along elevational gradients, with studies finding different patterns based on elevation. We investigated how patterns...
Article
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Inga kursarii is a new species collected in the terra firme forests of the northwestern Amazon, one of the regions with the highest tree species diversity in the world. According to morphological and phylogenetic analyses, the new species is morphologically similar and sister to Inga gracilifolia Ducke, but it can be distinguished by having 5-6 pai...
Article
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Symbiotic nitrogen (N)‐fixing trees can provide large quantities of new N to ecosystems, but only if they are sufficiently abundant. The overall abundance and latitudinal abundance distributions of N‐fixing trees are well characterised in the Americas, but less well outside the Americas. Here, we characterised the abundance of N‐fixing trees in a n...
Article
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Aim The relationship between the proportion of sites occupied by a species and the area of a site [occupancy–area relationship (OAR)] offers key information for biodiversity management and has long fascinated ecologists. We quantified the variation in OAR for 3,157 woody species in 17 forest plots worldwide and tested the relative importance of env...
Article
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en Many plant species exhibit strong association with topographic habitats at local scales. However, the historical biogeographic and physiological drivers of habitat specialization are still poorly understood, and there is a need for relatively easy‐to‐measure predictors of species habitat niche breadth. Here, we explore whether species geographic...
Article
Herbaceous plants are often under-studied in tropical forests, despite their high density and diversity, and little is known about the factors that influence their distribution at microscales. In a 25-ha plot in lowland Amazonian rain forest in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador, we censused six species of Heliconia (Heliconiaceae) in a stratified rando...
Research
Full-text available
The "Yasuní Guide to Conspicuous Plants" contains 605 photographs with descriptive characteristics for a total of 57 families and 176 plant species, including trees, shrubs, herbs and lianas. Without a doubt, a very useful tool for all those interested in plants from the Amazon.
Article
Full-text available
• The conspecific negative density dependence hypothesis states that mortality of young trees (seedlings and saplings) is higher near conspecific adults due to mechanisms such as allelopathy, intraspecific competition, and pest facilitation, explaining why in the tropics, most of plant species tend to be rare and live dispersed. However, there are...
Article
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Environmental filtering and dispersal limitation can both maintain diversity in plant communities by aggregating conspecifics, but parsing the contribution of each process to community assembly has proven difficult empirically. Here we assess the contribution of filtering and dispersal limitation to the spatial aggregation patterns of 456 tree spec...
Article
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Survival rates of large trees determine forest biomass dynamics. Survival rates of small trees have been linked to mechanisms that maintain biodiversity across tropical forests. How species survival rates change with size offers insight into the links between biodiversity and ecosystem function across tropical forests. We tested patterns of size-de...
Article
Abiotic constraints and biotic interactions act simultaneously to shape communities. However, these community assembly mechanisms are often studied independently, which can limit understanding of how they interact to affect species dynamics and distributions. We develop a hierarchical Bayesian neighborhood modeling approach to quantify the simultan...
Article
Aim To examine the contribution of large‐diameter trees to biomass, stand structure, and species richness across forest biomes. Location Global. Time period Early 21st century. Major taxa studied Woody plants. Methods We examined the contribution of large trees to forest density, richness and biomass using a global network of 48 large (from 2 t...
Article
Numerous Neotropical rainforest species are distributed in both Amazonia and Central America, reflecting a rich history of biotic interchange between regions. However, some plant lineages are endemic to one region, due in part to the dispersal barrier posed by the Northern Andean Cordilleras and adjacent savannas. To investigate the role of biogeog...
Article
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The tropical forests of Borneo and Amazonia may each contain more tree species diversity in half a square kilometre than do all the temperate forests of Europe, North America, and Asia combined. Biologists have long been fascinated by this disparity, using it to investigate potential drivers of biodiversity. Latitudinal variation in many of these d...
Article
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We analyze forest structure, diversity, and dominance in three large-scale Amazonian forest dynamics plots located in Northwestern (Yasuni and Amacayacu) and central (Manaus) Amazonia, to evaluate their consistency with prevailing wisdom regarding geographic variation and the shape of species abundance distributions, and to assess the robustness of...
Article
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The 'liana dominance hypothesis' posits that lianas are increasing in abundance in tropical forests, thereby potentially reducing tree biomass due to competitive interactions between trees and lianas. This scenario has implications not only for forest ecosystem function and species composition, but also climate change given the mass of carbon store...
Article
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INTRODUCTIONThe biodiversity-productivity relationship (BPR; the effect of biodiversity on ecosystem productivity) is foundational to our understanding of the global extinction crisis and its impacts on the functioning of natural ecosystems. The BPR has been a prominent research topic within ecology in recent decades, but it is only recently that w...
Article
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While the importance of local-scale habitat niches in shaping tree species turnover along environmental gradients in tropical forests is well appreciated, relatively little is known about the influence of phylogenetic signal in species' habitat niches in shaping local community structure. We used detailed maps of the soil resource and topographic v...
Article
Are the hyperdiverse local forests of the western Amazon undergoing changes linked to global and local drivers such as climate change, or successional dynamics? We analyzed local climatic records to assess potential climatic changes in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador, and compared two censuses (1995, 2012) of a palm community to assess changes in com...
Article
Full-text available
How ecological context shapes mutualistic relationships remains poorly understood. We combined long-term tree census data with ant censuses in a permanent 25-ha Amazonian forest dynamics plot to evaluate the effect of the mutualistic ant Myrmelachista schumanni (Formicinae) on the growth and survival of the common Amazonian tree Duroia hirsuta (Rub...
Article
Stem development in palms usually involves the building up of a trunk of maximum diameter before emerging from the ground. Unlike most arboreal palms, the oligarchic palm Iriartea deltoidea has been shown to grow in both height and diameter. Nevertheless, the drivers of this unusual growth strategy are poorly known. We examined the growth rates of...
Article
As distinct community assembly processes can produce similar community patterns, assessing the ecological mechanisms promoting coexistence in hyperdiverse rainforests remains a considerable challenge. We use spatially explicit neighbourhood models of tree growth to quantify how functional trait and phylogenetic similarities predict variation in gro...
Data
Abstract. How ecological context shapes mutualistic relationships remains poorly understood. We combined long-term tree census data with ant censuses in a permanent 25-ha Amazonian forest dynamics plot to evaluate the effect of the mutualistic ant Myrmelachista schumanni (Formicinae) on the growth and survival of the common Amazonian tree Duroia hi...
Article
Oenocarpus bataua is the seventh most abundant tree in the Amazon and one of the most used palms in the region. The main resource obtained from the species is the fruits that are harvested from wild populations for human consumption. Across its distribution area adults are most frequently felled to obtain the racemes, which may affect the palm’s po...
Article
Mutualistic relationships between organisms have long captivated biologists, and extrafloral nectaries, or nectar-producing glands, found on many plants are a good example. The nectar produced from these glands provides food for ants, which may defend the plant from potential herbivores in turn. However, relatively little is known about their impac...
Article
Full-text available
The conservation of tropical forest carbon stocks offers the opportunity to curb climate 43 change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and simultaneously conserve 44 biodiversity. However, there has been considerable debate about the extent to which carbon 45 storage will provide benefits to biodiversity in part because whether...
Article
Mapping aboveground carbon density in tropical forests can support CO2 emission monitoring and provide benefits for national resource management. Although LiDAR technology has been shown to be useful for assessing carbon density patterns, the accuracy and generality of calibrations of LiDAR-based aboveground carbon density (ACD) predictions with th...
Article
Full-text available
The conservation of tropical forest carbon stocks offers the opportunity to curb climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and simultaneously conserve biodiversity. However, there has been considerable debate about the extent to which carbon storage will provide benefits to biodiversity in part because whether forests t...
Article
Full-text available
The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher’s alpha and an approx...
Article
Full-text available
The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher's alpha and an approx...
Article
Full-text available
It is commonly accepted that plant responses to foliar herbivory (e.g. plant defenses) can influence subsequent leaf-litter decomposability in soil. While several studies have assessed the herbivory-decomposability relationship among different plant species, experimental tests at the intra-specific level are rare, although critical for a mechanisti...
Article
Full-text available
Global change is impacting forests worldwide, threatening biodiversity and ecosystem services including climate regulation. Understanding how forests respond is critical to forest conservation and climate protection. This review describes an international network of 59 long-term forest dynamics research sites (CTFS-ForestGEO) useful for characteriz...
Article
Full-text available
Advances in forest carbon mapping have the potential to greatly reduce uncertainties in the global carbon budget and to facilitate effective emissions mitigation strategies such as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). Though broad-scale mapping is based primarily on remote sensing data, the accuracy of resulting for...
Book
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La información presentada en el libro se basa en los datos de dos décadas de investigación en una parcela de 50 hectáreas de bosque en el Parque Nacional Yasuní, la cual contiene cerca de 300 000 individuos arbóreos (con diámetro >=1 cm) clasificados en alrededor de 1100 especies. El libro presenta información taxonómica (descripciones morfológicas...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Species coexistence in the highly diverse tropical forests poses a considerable challenge to ecologists. Functional traits and phylogenetic relationships of co-occurring species provide the opportunity to distinguish the signatures of stochastic and deterministic assembly processes in communities. However, as multiple...
Article
Full-text available
1. A key issue in plant-herbivore interaction research is to understand which plant traits drive differences in herbivore damage. Variation in chemical, physical or phenological traits of plants may all modulate the degree of herbivore damage among species and individuals, yet the relative importance of these factors is still subject to debate, par...
Article
Advances in forest carbon mapping have the potential to greatly reduce uncertainties in the global carbon budget and to facilitate effective emissions mitigation strategies such as REDD+. Though broad scale mapping is based primarily on remote sensing data, the accuracy of resulting forest carbon stock estimates depends critically on the quality of...
Article
A standardized rapid inventory method providing information on both tree species diversity and aboveground carbon stocks in tropical forests will be an important tool for evaluating efforts to conserve biodiversity and to estimate the carbon emissions that result from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Herein, we contrast five common plot method...