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Biodiversity and Functioning of Tropical Forest Ecosystems: Developing the Science for Evidence-Based Policy

English title Biodiversity and Functioning of Tropical Forest Ecosystems: Developing the Science for Evidence-Based Policy
Applicant Hector Andrew
Number 132479
Funding scheme ProDoc
Research institution Institut für Evolutionsbiologie und Umweltwissenschaften Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.03.2011 - 30.09.2015
Approved amount 400'000.00
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Keywords (7)

Ecosystem functioning and services; Plant traits; Tropical forest restoration; Genetic diversity; REDD-plus; Biodiversity; Carbon sequestration

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Biodiversity and Functioning of Tropical Forest Ecosystems: Developing the Science for Evidence-Based Policy
Lay summary

This application proposes a module of two complementary PhD projects that will be part of the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Centre Training Module on Plant Science and Policy. Scientifically, the proposal focuses on the biodiversity and functioning of tropical forest study systems in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. This network of study sites forms a gradient of land use from pristine primary lowland rainforest, through contrasting areas of secondary production forest that are undergoing experimental restoration. The module will link two new large-scale and long-term pure and applied research projects: a 50 ha permanent plot in the primary lowland rainforest of Danum Valley Conservation Area (led by David Burslem) and the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment (SBE, led by Andy Hector).

The scientific research addressed by these projects and in this module has strong links to policy on both biodiversity conservation (e.g. the International Convention on Biological Diversity) and ecosystem functioning and services (e.g. the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment), particularly where these policy areas intersect in the climate change domain through the REDD+ initiative that aims at Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation in a way that is ecologically beneficial through restoration and reforestation.

Scaling Biodiversity to Ecosystem Services: Spatial Genetic Structure and Carbon Sequestration Potential in Tropical Forests Trees (Ghazoul, Burslem and collaborators): examines aspects of the link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in undisturbed forests (Danum Valley Conservation Area). In particular it quantifies and evaluates the strength of putative relationships between wood density, reproductive traits, gene dispersal and spatial genetic structure of dipterocarp trees in Borneo, with a view to informing policy and management practice on forest restoration and carbon sequestration. The project will test putative relationships between wood density and reproductive plant traits that suggests that the species which store the most carbon are also those that are most dispersal limited. It will also evaluate the impact of fragmentation and degradation on genetic diversity along a wood density gradient, with a view to informing ecological restoration management for the dual purpose of carbon sequestration and conservation.

Restoring Functioning Forest Ecosystems: The Effects of Enrichment Planting and Enhanced Climber Cutting (Hector and colleagues): examines initial impacts of attempts to restore biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in secondary forests through enrichment planting of seedlings of trees of the dominant dipterocarp family plus the effects of the associated cutting of competing climber species. The first part of the project will assess to what degree enrichment planting increases seedling density (and thereby potentially future C storage). The second part of project C will assess intended effects of climber cutting on growth and survival of enrichment planted seedlings as well as potential short-term side-effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

The scientific importance and impact of this research module will include the identification of which species are most important to carbon storage and most at risk from dispersal limitation and development and evaluation of enrichment planting and climber cutting techniques for restoration of functional forests.

 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 30.04.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Predicting the terminal velocity of dipterocarp fruit
Smith J. R. et al. (2016), Predicting the terminal velocity of dipterocarp fruit, in Biotropica, 48, 154-158.
Predicting dispersal of auto-gyrating fruit in tropical trees: a case study from the Dipterocarpaceae
Smith J. R. et al. (2015), Predicting dispersal of auto-gyrating fruit in tropical trees: a case study from the Dipterocarpaceae, in Ecol Evol, 5, 1794-1801.
A trait-based trade-off between growth and mortality: evidence from 15 tropical tree species using size-specific relative growth rates
Philipson C.D. et al. (2014), A trait-based trade-off between growth and mortality: evidence from 15 tropical tree species using size-specific relative growth rates, in Ecol Evol , 4, 3675-3688.
The Sabah Biodiversity Experiment: a long-term test of the role of tree diversity in restoring tropical forest structure and functioning
Hector A. et al. (2011), The Sabah Biodiversity Experiment: a long-term test of the role of tree diversity in restoring tropical forest structure and functioning, in PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 366(1582), 3303-3315.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Sabah Forestry Department Malaysia (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Society for Tropical Ecology Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Degradation and Restoration of Tropical Forest Diversity and Functioning 07.04.2016 Zurich, Switzerland Bin Dzulkifli David Dzaeman; Hector Andrew;
Society for Tropical Ecology Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference How consistent is fine-scale genetic structure within tropical tree species? A dipterocarp case study 23.02.2016 Göttingen, Germany Smith James Roland;
Society for Tropical Ecology Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Does seed dispersal govern spatial distribution in the Dipterocarpaceae? A Bornean case study 07.04.2015 Zurich, Switzerland Smith James Roland;
Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Winging it: using tower experiments and seed morphology to predict dispersal in tropical trees 20.07.2014 Cairns, Australia Smith James Roland;
Society for Tropical Ecology Annual meeting Talk given at a conference Winging it: using tower experiments and seed morphology to predict dispersal in tropical trees 25.02.2014 Freising, Germany Smith James Roland;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
125461 Life history trade-offs in dipterocarp tree seedlings: implications for the structure and fuctioning of tropical ecosystems 01.04.2009 Project funding
127227 PSC "Plant Sciences and Policy" 01.11.2009 ProDoc

Abstract

This application proposes a module of three complementary PhD projects that will be part of the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Centre Training Module on Plant Science and Policy. Scientifically, the proposal focuses on the biodiversity and functioning of tropical forest study systems in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. This network of study sites forms a gradient of land use from pristine primary lowland rainforest, through contrasting areas of secondary production forest that are undergoing either experimental restoration or anthropogenic fragmentation and degradation, to plantations converted to agricultural palm oil production. The module will link three new large-scale and long-term pure and applied research projects: a 50 ha permanent plot in the primary lowland rainforest of Danum Valley Conservation Area (led by David Burslem); the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems habitat fragmentation experiment (SAFE, led by Rob Ewers) and the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment (SBE, led by Andy Hector). The scientific research addressed by these three projects and in this module has strong links to policy on both biodiversity conservation (e.g. the International Convention on Biological Diversity) and ecosystem functioning and services (e.g. the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment), particularly where these policy areas intersect in the climate change domain through the REDD+ initiative that aims at Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation in a way that is ecologically beneficial through restoration and reforestation. Project A (Ghazoul, Burslem and collaborators) examines aspects of the link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in undisturbed forests (Danum Valley Conservation Area). In particular it quantifies and evaluates the strength of putative relationships between wood density, reproductive traits, gene dispersal and spatial genetic structure of dipterocarp trees in Borneo, with a view to informing policy and management practice on forest restoration and carbon sequestration. The project will test putative relationships between wood density and reproductive plant traits that suggests that the species which store the most carbon are also those that are most dispersal limited. It will also evaluate the impact of fragmentation and degradation on genetic diversity along a wood density gradient, with a view to informing ecological restoration management for the dual purpose of carbon sequestration and conservation.Project B (Hector, Ewers and colleagues) examines initial changes in both biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in degrading areas of secondary forest that have been fragmented to different degrees as well as in the intervening matrix that has been converted to palm oil plantation. The project will examine initial effects of fragmentation on microclimate and ecosystem processes and the consequences of these for seedling survival and growth. Project C (Hector and colleagues) examines initial impacts of attempts to restore biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in secondary forests through enrichment planting of seedlings of trees of the dominant dipterocarp family plus the effects of the associated cutting of competing climber species. The first part of the project will assess to what degree enrichment planting increases seedling density (and thereby potentially future C storage). The second part of project C will assess intended effects of climber cutting on growth and survival of enrichment planted seedlings as well as potential short-term side-effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The scientific importance and impact of this research module will include quantification of the initial impacts of habitat fragmentation on forest diversity and functioning, identification of which species are most important to carbon storage and most at risk from dispersal limitation and development and evaluation of enrichment planting and climber cutting techniques for restoration of functional forests.
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