Terra firme forests make up more than three quarters of the western Amazon basin and are often considered functionally homogeneous in regional scale mapping and modelling efforts. However, the landforms underlying these systems are subject to dynamic processes of landscape evolution occurring within an otherwise geomorphically stable terrace formation. These processes may introduce systematic variability in local nutrient status of terra firme ecosystems. We utilised high-resolution airborne topographic and imaging spectroscopy data, with directed field soil surveys, to reveal that active stream incision and patterns of soil rock derived nutrient availability drive foliar canopy chemistry distributions across seven catchments within a single terrace formation. These results strongly suggest that fine-scale geomorphic processes directly affect biogeochemical cycles throughout the lowland western Amazon. Furthermore, links between landscape evolution and foliar chemical distributions indicate that geomorphic processes drive the fine-scale spatial organisation of this tropical ecosystem, with implications for the functional assembly and biogeography of Amazonian forests.
- Carnegie Airborne Observatory
- landscape ecology
- rock-derived nutrients
- tropical forests
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics