Track: Organized Oral Session
The functionality of forests is in jeopardy due to the synergistic effects of human driven climatic and landscape changes. An increase in the frequency and magnitude of drought events is causing worldwide tree mortality. The combined effect of global warming and novel pests and diseases are putting many forest ecosystems at risk of losing large portions of their biomass. Overexploitation and degradation are shifting tropical forests from sinks to sources of carbon. Together, these processes may act as a positive feedback on global climate change by increasing the rate of accumulation of carbon (as CO2) in the atmosphere rather than in terrestrial ecosystems. Natural disturbances are integral to the functioning of forests; they often renew ecosystems and contribute to the creation of temporal and spatial heterogeneity, which are critical for the maintenance of high levels of biodiversity. Within the realm of natural disturbances, healthy forests have the capacity to withstand temporary disturbances by either maintaining similar properties, i.e., showing resistance or low vulnerability, or by recovering their original properties afterwards, i.e., being resilient. However, even healthy ecosystems can be seriously disrupted under novel and recurrent stressors such as those imposed by global change. As most forested areas are experiencing combinations of global change stressors, the persistence and functionality of these ecosystems is dependent on both their vulnerability or resistance to these stressors and on their capacity to recover, i.e., their resilience. In this session, a diverse set of forest scientists will present current research on forest resilience and the potential role of biodiversity. These talks will provide comprehensive insight on how biodiversity may determine both forest resilience and resistance to extreme climatic events.
Presenting Author: Sean M. McMahon – Forest Global Earth Observatory, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Presenting Author: Emily Warner – Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford
Presenting Author: Rupert Seidl – School of Life Sciences, Technical University of Munich
Presenting Author: Margaux Didion-Gency – Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
Presenting Author: Samantha K. Chapman – Biology, Villanova University