Life in the clouds: are tropical montane cloud forests responding to changes in climate?

Jia Hu, Diego A. Riveros-Iregui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The humid tropics represent only one example of the many places worldwide where anthropogenic disturbance and climate change are quickly affecting the feedbacks between water and trees. In this article, we address the need for a more long-term perspective on the effects of climate change on tropical montane cloud forests (TMCF) in order to fully assess the combined vulnerability and long-termresponse of tropical trees to changes in precipitation regimes, including cloud immersion. We first review the ecophysiological benefits that cloud water interception offers to trees in TMCF and then examine current climatological evidence that suggests changes in cloud base height and impending changes in cloud immersion for TMCF. Finally, we propose an experimental approach to examine the long-term dynamics of tropical trees in TMCF in response to environmental conditions on decade-to-century time scales. This information is important to assess the vulnerability and long-term response of TMCF to changes in cloud cover and fog frequency and duration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1061-1073
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • C
  • Climate change
  • Cloud forest
  • Dendrochronology
  • Ecohydrology
  • Isotopes
  • O
  • Tropics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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