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We used data from a long-term (14-18 years) demographic study to infer the maximum longevity for populations of 93 relatively abundant tree species in central Amazonia. We also assessed the influence of several life-history features (wood density, growth form, mortality rate, recruitment rate, stem diameter, growth increment, population density) on tree longevity. Data on 3159 individual trees were collected in 24 permanent, 1 ha plots in undisturbed forest arrayed across a large (ca. 1000 km(2)) study area. For each species, three estimates of longevity were generated (by dividing the stem diameter of the largest tree by the median, upper quartile, and upper decile of observed diameter-growth rates), and the mean of these three values was used as a longevity estimate. Longevity values ranged from 48 years in the pioneer Pourouma bicolor (Cecropiaceae) to 981 years for the canopy tree Pouteria manaosensis (Sapotaceae), with an overall mean of 336 +/- 196 years. These growth-based estimates of maximum tree age were concordant with those derived from analyses of mean mortality rates. Tree longevity was positively correlated with wood density, maximum stem diameter, and population density, and negatively correlated with annual mortality, recruitment, and growth rates. On average, pioneer species had much lower longevity than did non-pioneers, whereas among old-growth trees, emergent species had greater longevity than did canopy species. Our results are consistent with radiocarbon-based studies that suggest that Amazonian trees can occasionally exceed 1000 years of age. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

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