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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


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
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


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


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