Title of symposium:
Frontiers in demographic modeling for tropical forest ecology and conservation
Dr. Trevor Caughlin
Department of Biology, Boise State University, USA
Dr. Pieter Zuidema
Forest Ecology and Forest Management, Wageningen University, Netherlands
Climate change, land-use conversion, and degradation will profoundly alter tropical forests. Predicting the effects of these changes requires an understanding of plant population dynamics. The field of plant demography can provide an important contribution to meeting this scientific challenge. Sophisticated models help to understand and predict population dynamics of long-lived plant species, but also to understand the pace of forest succession, the effect of defaunation, and to forecast outcomes of stochastic climatic events. Demographic theory is also in the heart of second generation Earth System Models that use tree demography to simulate effects of climate change on tropical forests worldwide. The increasing availability of long-term monitoring data for tropical forests presents new opportunities for applying demographic models to resolve long-standing ecological questions. Yet tropical plant demography is also faced with important challenges: species-level models can be intractable in highly diverse forests, conservation issues often require a landscape-scale approach that extends beyond the boundaries of forest inventory plots, and non-linear feedbacks are the norm. In this symposium, we bring together a wide range of expertise to address these challenges and to showcase the potential for demographic models in tropical ecology and conservation.
List of speakers and presentation titles: