Tropical dry forest resilience and water use efficiency: an analysis of productivity under climate change

Kayla D. Stan, G. Arturo Sánchez-Azofeifa*, Sandra M. Duran, J. Antonio Guzmán Q., Michael Hesketh, Kati Laakso, Carlos Portillo-Quintero, Cassidy Rankine, Sebastian Doetterl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Tropical dry forests (TDFs) worldwide have an environment-sensitive phenological signal, which easily marks their response to the changing climatic conditions, especially precipitation and temperature. Using TDF phenological characteristics as a proxy, this study aims to evaluate their current continental response to climate change across the Americas. Here, we show that TDFs are resilient to water stress and droughts by increasing their rain use efficiency (RUE) in drier years and recovering to average RUE in the year following the drought. Additionally, we find that TDF productivity trends over the past 18 years are spatially clustered, with sites in the northern hemisphere experiencing increased productivity, while equatorial regions have no change, and the southern hemisphere exhibiting decreased productivity. The results indicate that the TDF will be resilient under future climatic conditions, particularly if there are increasing drought conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number054027
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • tropical dry forests
  • productivity
  • integrated enhanced vegetation index
  • water use efficiency
  • climate change
  • resilience
  • drought recovery


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