A Caltech Library Service

Liana optical traits increase tropical forest albedo and reduce ecosystem productivity

Meunier, Félicien and Visser, Marco D. and Shiklomanov, Alexey and Dietze, Michael C. and Guzmán Q., J. Antonio and Sanchez‐Azofeifa, G. Arturo and De Deurwaerder, Hannes P. T. and Krishna Moorthy, Sruthi M. and Schnitzer, Stefan A. and Marvin, David C. and Longo, Marcos and Liu, Chang and Broadbent, Eben N. and Almeyda Zambrano, Angelica M. and Muller‐Landau, Helene C. and Detto, Matteo and Verbeeck, Hans (2022) Liana optical traits increase tropical forest albedo and reduce ecosystem productivity. Global Change Biology, 28 (1). pp. 227-244. ISSN 1354-1013. doi:10.1111/gcb.15928.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

[img] PDF - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Lianas are a key growth form in tropical forests. Their lack of self-supporting tissues and their vertical position on top of the canopy make them strong competitors of resources. A few pioneer studies have shown that liana optical traits differ on average from those of colocated trees. Those trait discrepancies were hypothesized to be responsible for the competitive advantage of lianas over trees. Yet, in the absence of reliable modelling tools, it is impossible to unravel their impact on the forest energy balance, light competition, and on the liana success in Neotropical forests. To bridge this gap, we performed a meta-analysis of the literature to gather all published liana leaf optical spectra, as well as all canopy spectra measured over different levels of liana infestation. We then used a Bayesian data assimilation framework applied to two radiative transfer models (RTMs) covering the leaf and canopy scales to derive tropical tree and liana trait distributions, which finally informed a full dynamic vegetation model. According to the RTMs inversion, lianas grew thinner, more horizontal leaves with lower pigment concentrations. Those traits made the lianas very efficient at light interception and significantly modified the forest energy balance and its carbon cycle. While forest albedo increased by 14% in the shortwave, light availability was reduced in the understorey (−30% of the PAR radiation) and soil temperature decreased by 0.5°C. Those liana-specific traits were also responsible for a significant reduction of tree (−19%) and ecosystem (−7%) gross primary productivity (GPP) while lianas benefited from them (their GPP increased by +27%). This study provides a novel mechanistic explanation to the increase in liana abundance, new evidence of the impact of lianas on forest functioning, and paves the way for the evaluation of the large-scale impacts of lianas on forest biogeochemical cycles.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Meunier, Félicien0000-0003-2486-309X
Visser, Marco D.0000-0003-1200-0852
Shiklomanov, Alexey0000-0003-4022-5979
Dietze, Michael C.0000-0002-2324-2518
Guzmán Q., J. Antonio0000-0002-0721-148X
Sanchez‐Azofeifa, G. Arturo0000-0001-7768-6600
De Deurwaerder, Hannes P. T.0000-0002-9287-2062
Krishna Moorthy, Sruthi M.0000-0002-6838-2880
Schnitzer, Stefan A.0000-0002-2715-9455
Marvin, David C.0000-0002-2938-9027
Longo, Marcos0000-0001-5062-6245
Liu, Chang0000-0002-2919-9717
Broadbent, Eben N.0000-0002-4488-4237
Almeyda Zambrano, Angelica M.0000-0001-5081-9936
Muller‐Landau, Helene C.0000-0002-3526-9021
Detto, Matteo0000-0003-0494-188X
Verbeeck, Hans0000-0003-1490-0168
Additional Information:© 2021 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes. Issue Online: 02 December 2021; Version of Record online: 30 October 2021; Accepted manuscript online: 15 October 2021; Manuscript accepted: 07 October 2021; Manuscript revised: 30 September 2021; Manuscript received: 08 June 2021. This research was funded by the European Research Council Starting Grant 637643 (TREECLIMBERS) and the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), senior research project G002321N. The computational resources and services used in this work were provided by the VSC (Flemish Supercomputer Center), funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) and the Flemish Government – department EWI. During the preparation of this manuscript, FM was first funded by the BAEF and the WBI as a research fellow and then by the FWO as a junior postdoc (fellowship 1214720N) and is thankful to these organizations for their financial support. HPTDD was also a BAEF research fellow during the preparation of this manuscript and is as grateful to this organization for its support. MCD was supported by NSF ABI grant 1458021. We are grateful to the whole PEcAn group and the ED2 team for helpful discussions and support related to the functioning of BETY, PEcAn, and ED-RTM. The research carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, was under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. ML was supported by the NASA Postdoctoral Program, administered by Universities Space Research Association under contract with NASA. GatorEye data collection and processing by AMAZ and ENB was supported by the McIntire-Stennis program of the USDA and the University of Florida. Conflict of Interest: None declared. Authors' Contributions: FM, MV, MD, and HV designed the study. FM implemented the workflow, ran the simulations, and processed the results with inputs and support from MD and AS for PEcAn and ED-RTM technical aspects. Some of the co-authors contributed critical data to calibrate or validate the model outputs, including MV and HML (WorldView-3), JAG and ASA (raw spectral data), and ENB and AMAZ (GatorEye LiDAR). All authors contributed to the manuscript and critically revised it. Data Availability Statement: The data that support the findings of this study are openly available in Zenodo at, reference number 5560918.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Research Council (ERC)637643
Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO)G002321N
Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF)UNSPECIFIED
Wallonia-Brussels International (WBI)UNSPECIFIED
Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO)1214720N
NASA Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
U.S. Department of AgricultureUNSPECIFIED
University of FloridaUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:ecosystem demography model (ED2); forest albedo; forest energy balance; PROSPECT-5; radiative transfer models; structural parasitism; tropical lianas
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211129-210154966
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Meunier, F., Visser, M. D., Shiklomanov, A., Dietze, M. C., Guzmán Q., J. A., Sanchez-Azofeifa, G. A., De Deurwaerder, H. P. T., Krishna Moorthy, S. M., Schnitzer, S. A., Marvin, D. C., Longo, M., Liu, C., Broadbent, E. N., Almeyda Zambrano, A. M., Muller-Landau, H. C., Detto, M., & Verbeeck, H. (2021). Liana optical traits increase tropical forest albedo and reduce ecosystem productivity. Global Change Biology, 28, 227–244.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:112072
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:29 Nov 2021 21:28
Last Modified:08 Dec 2021 17:33

Repository Staff Only: item control page