Landscape evolution and nutrient rejuvenation reflected in Amazon forest canopy chemistry

K. Dana Chadwick, Gregory P. Asner

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

23 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-988
Number of pages11
JournalEcology letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Amazon
  • Carnegie Airborne Observatory
  • calcium
  • landscape ecology
  • rock-derived nutrients
  • tropical forests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Landscape evolution and nutrient rejuvenation reflected in Amazon forest canopy chemistry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this