Biological, structural and functional responses of tropical forests to environmental factors

Here, we hypothesize that the biological, structural and functional attributes of tropical forests respond to water-related climatic and soil nutrient-related factors.

Thus, we quantified 27 forest attributes and 20 environmental factors across 189 plots of Sri Lankan tropical forests. Our results suggest that environmental conditions were characterized by both water-related and temperature-related factors, and as such, both coarse-textured and compacted-structured soils determined soil conditions.

Forest conditions were characterized by high species-functional diversity, structural complexity and aboveground biomass-related functions. We found strong positive effects of water-related climatic factors followed by temperature-related climatic factors but negligible positive to negative effects of textured-related and nutrient-related soil factors on most of the biological, structural and functional attributes.

Overall the biodiversity and carbon stocks of Sri Lankan tropical forests are likely to increase with water-energy balance and improved soil conditions, and thus, studied forests could offset a substantial quantity of anthropogenic carbon emissions to achieve carbon neutrality which can have both regional and global significance if protected from anthropogenic disturbances. 

Subscribe to our newsletter