Title of symposium:
Tropical tree life-history strategies: Causes and consequences of demographic diversity
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Germany,
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), Maryland, USA
A major challenge to understanding tropical forest dynamics is identifying how numerous tree species differ and how they are similar in their life history strategies. Life-history strategies describe the way tree species have evolved to maximize fitness through different approaches to survival, growth, reproduction, and dispersal. These strategies balance trade-offs in allocation of resources to gain advantages in the face of challenges such as competition, disturbances, or natural enemies. Identifying life-history strategies and what their consequences are at the community level is critical to better understanding the evolution and maintenance of tropical forest diversity as well as predicting the future of these communities.
During the last decades, long-term forest monitoring plots have accumulated extensive data on the demography of tropical forest tree species, demonstrating life-history trade-offs, such as the growth-survival trade-off or the tolerance-fecundity trade-off. Features of these allocation strategies have also been linked to commonly collected functional traits. However, we are lacking a comprehensive understanding of tropical tree life-histories, their links to allocation strategies and functional traits as well as their consequences for species coexistence, forest dynamics, or ecosystem functions. The goal of this symposium is to synthesize knowledge on all aspects of life-history strategies. We bring together a diverse range of scientists to discuss the causes and consequences of ecological strategies of tropical trees, to identify critical questions, novel theories, and knowledge gaps. Contributions cover insights from empirical studies, mechanistic allocation models, and demography-based models.
List of speakers and presentation titles: