Title of symposium:
Land-use change impacts on ecosystem biogeochemistry and functioning in secondary forests

Principal organizer:
Yit Arn Teh

Symposium summary:
Human disturbance in the tropics – including fire, logging, or agricultural abandonment – has led to wide-spread expansion of secondary forests, whether due to conversion of old-growth forests or re-growth of abandoned land. This has led to significant changes in biodiversity and major shifts in ecosystem biogeochemistry, altering key processes such as primary productivity, respiration, nutrient cycling and fluxes of reactive trace gases. Secondary forests have been demonstrated to be major repositories of biological diversity and also play an important role in regional and global exchanges of material and energy. Yet despite studies of land-use change impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem biogeochemistry, relatively little is known about how human-induced shifts in diversity impact ecosystem function, challenging our ability to accurately predict the response of secondary forests to current and future environmental forcings. In this session, we will explore the links between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in tropical secondary forests, investigating if changes in functional diversity caused by vegetation clearing or agricultural abandonment have knock-on effects on ecosystem processes. We will identify key knowledge gaps and discuss means of addressing them, including inter-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary modes of research and problem solving. Contributions are particular welcome from those investigating plant-soil interactions; biosphere-atmosphere exchange; traits-based approaches to studying ecological processes; remote sensing approaches to quantifying biodiversity and ecosystem functioning; and the role of fauna in modulating biogeochemical cycles and multi-trophic processes.