Helene C. Muller-Landau, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Richard S. Condit, Apache Point Observatory
Jerome Chave, Universite Paul Sabatier Toulouse III
Sean C. Thomas, University of Toronto
Stephanie A. Bohlman, Princeton University
Sarayudh Bunyavejchewin, National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Thailand
Stuart Davies, Apache Point Observatory
Robin Foster, Field Museum of Natural History
Savitri Gunatilleke, University of Peradeniya
Nimal Gunatilleke, University of Peradeniya
Kyle E. Harms, Apache Point Observatory
Terese Hart, Wildlife Conservation Society
Stephen P. Hubbell, Apache Point Observatory
Akira Itoh, Osaka City University
Abd Rahman Kassim, Forest Research Institute Malaysia
James V. LaFrankie, Nanyang Technological University
Hua Seng Lee, Forest Department Sarawak
Elizabeth Losos, Duke University
Jean Remy Makana, Wildlife Conservation Society Canada
Tatsuhiro Ohkubo, Utsunomiya University
Raman Sukumar, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
I. Fang Sun, Center for Tropical Ecology and Biodiversity
M. N. Nur Supardi, Forest Research Institute Malaysia
Sylvester Tan, Forest Research Centre - Sandakan
Jill Thompson, University of Puerto Rico, Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies
Renato Valencia, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador
Gorky Villa Muñoz, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador
Christopher Wills, Division of Biological Sciences
Takuo Yamakura, Osaka City University
George Chuyong, University of Buea
Handanakere Shivaramaiah Dattaraja, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Shameema Esufali, University of Peradeniya
Pamela Hall, Apache Point Observatory

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The theory of metabolic ecology predicts specific relationships among tree stem diameter, biomass, height, growth and mortality. As demographic rates are important to estimates of carbon fluxes in forests, this theory might offer important insights into the global carbon budget, and deserves careful assessment. We assembled data from 10 old-growth tropical forests encompassing censuses of 367 ha and > 1.7 million trees to test the theory's predictions. We also developed a set of alternative predictions that retained some assumptions of metabolic ecology while also considering how availability of a key limiting resource, light, changes with tree size. Our results show that there are no universal scaling relationships of growth or mortality with size among trees in tropical forests. Observed patterns were consistent with our alternative model in the one site where we had the data necessary to evaluate it, and were inconsistent with the predictions of metabolic ecology in all forests. © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Ecology Letters

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