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Shifts in structural diversity of Amazonian forest edges detected using terrestrial laser scanning

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  • Eduardo Eiji Maeda, University of Helsinki, University of Hong Kong
  • ,
  • Matheus Henrique Nunes, University of Helsinki
  • ,
  • Kim Calders, Ghent University
  • ,
  • Yhasmin Mendes de Moura, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, University of Leicester
  • ,
  • Pasi Raumonen, Tampere University
  • ,
  • Hanna Tuomisto, University of Turku
  • ,
  • Philippe Verley, Universite de Montpellier
  • ,
  • Gregoire Vincent, Universite de Montpellier
  • ,
  • Gabriela Zuquim
  • José Luís Camargo, National Institute of Amazonian Research

Forest edges are an increasingly common feature of Amazonian landscapes due to human-induced forest fragmentation. Substantial evidence shows that edge effects cause profound changes in forest biodiversity and productivity. However, the broader impacts of edge effects on ecosystem functioning remain unclear. Assessing the three-dimensional arrangement of forest elements has the potential to unveil structural traits that are scalable and closely linked to important functional characteristics of the forest. Using over 600 high-resolution terrestrial laser scanning measurements, we present a detailed assessment of forest structural metrics linked to ecosystem processes such as energy harvesting and light use efficiency. Our results show a persistent change in forest structural characteristics along the edges of forest fragments, which resulted in a significantly lower structural diversity, in comparison with the interior of the forest fragments. These structural changes could be observed up to 35 m from the forest edges and are likely to reflect even deeper impacts on other ecosystem variables such as microclimate and biodiversity. Traits related to vertical plant material allocation were more affected than traits related to canopy height. We demonstrate a divergent response from the forest understory (higher vegetation density close to the edge) and the upper canopy (lower vegetation density close to the edge), indicating that assessing forest disturbances using vertically integrated metrics, such as total plant area index, can lead to an erroneous interpretation of no change. Our results demonstrate the strong potential of terrestrial laser scanning for benchmarking broader-scale (e.g. airborne and space-borne) remote sensing assessments of forest disturbances, as well as to provide a more robust interpretation of biophysical changes detected at coarser resolutions.

TidsskriftRemote Sensing of Environment
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Academy of Finland (decision numbers 318252 , 319905 and 340175 ). This publication is number 833 of the Technical Series of the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragment Forest (BDFFP). Y.M.M. was supported by a research grant from the Royal Society through the Newton International Fellowship funding, grant number NF170036 and HPC-Europa3 (process n: HPC17TA3RL) supported by European Commission H2020. KC was funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 835398 . GZ was funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research - Natural Sciences ( #9040-00136B ). G.V. received support from “ Investissement d'Avenir ” grant managed by Agence Nationale de la Recherche (CEBA, ref. ANR-10-LABX-25-01 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

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