Relevance of wood anatomy and size of Amazonian trees in the determination and allometry of sapwood area
ABSTRACT Hydrological processes in forest stands are mainly influenced by tree species composition and morpho-physiological characteristics. Few studies on anatomical patterns that govern plant hydraulics were conducted in tropical forest ecosystems. Thus, we used dye immersion to analyze sapwood area patterns of 34 trees belonging to 26 species from a terra firme forest in the central Brazilian Amazon. The sapwood area was related with wood anatomy and tree size parameters (diameter-at-breast-height - DBH, total height and estimated whole-tree volume). Exponential allometric equations were used to model sapwood area using the biometrical variables measured. Sapwood area traits (cross-section non-uniformity and heartwood visibility) varied significantly among and within species even though all were classified as diffuse porous. DBH was strongly and non-linearly correlated with sapwood area (R 2 = 0.46, P < 0.001), while no correlation was observed with vessel-lumen diameter (P = 0.94) and frequency (P = 0.58). Sapwood area and shape were also affected by the occurrence of vessel obstruction (i.e., tyloses), hollow stems and diseases. Our results suggest that sapwood area patterns and correlated variables are driven by intrinsic species characteristics, microclimate and ecological succession within the stand. We believe that individual tree sapwood characteristics have strong implications over water use, hydrological stand upsaling and biomass quantification. These characteristics should be taken into account (e.g., through a multi-point sampling approach) when estimating forest stand transpiration in a highly biodiverse ecosystem.