Demographic trade-offs predict tropical forest dynamics


Rüger N, Condit R, Dent DH, DeWalt SJ, Hubbell SP, Lichstein JW, Lopez OR, Wirth C & Farrior CE (2020) Demographic trade-offs predict tropical forest dynamics. Science, 368 (6487), pp. 165-168.

Understanding tropical forest dynamics and planning for their sustainable management require efficient, yet accurate, predictions of the joint dynamics of hundreds of tree species. With increasing information on tropical tree life histories, our predictive understanding is no longer limited by species data but by the ability of existing models to make use of it. Using a demographic forest model, we show that the basal area and compositional changes during forest succession in a neotropical forest can be accurately predicted by representing tropical tree diversity (hundreds of species) with only five functional groups spanning two essential trade-offs—the growth-survival and stature-recruitment trade-offs. This data-driven modeling framework substantially improves our ability to predict consequences of anthropogenic impacts on tropical forests.

Science: Volume 368, Issue 6487

Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online10/04/2020
Date accepted by journal27/02/2020