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From traits to ecosystems: remote sensing of tropical forest structure and function under environmental change


From traits to ecosystems: remote sensing of tropical forest structure and function under environmental change

Part 1: Mon, July 11, 10:30 - 12:30 hrs, Room: Secretaría

Part 2: Mon, July 11, 14:00 - 16:00 hrs, Room: Secretaría


Sandra Duran, Jesus Aguirre Gutierrez, Jeannine Cavender-Bares

This symposium will bring together the latest research on active and passive remote sensing for the measuring and mapping of plant functional traits, ecosystem structure and function across tropical forests around the world.

Tropical forests ecosystems contain more than half of the world’s terrestrial diversity, and contribute more than a third of global terrestrial carbon stocks. This diversity is not only represented by the high number of animal and plant species, but also by the functional and structural trait variation and complexity of ecosystem processes. While traditional methods in ecology have been successful at gathering measurements of forest composition and structure, ecosystem processes, field-based studies have limited capacity to map landscape-level patterns and dynamics across large spatial extents. Remote-sensing methods have advanced rapidly to overcome these challenges and enable sampling the crowns of large canopy trees over expansive areas, measuring canopy chemistry and forest phenology, and estimating carbon biomass over large environmental gradients. Spatially continuous observations in high-diverse systems such as tropical forest are necessary to evaluate the ecosystem response to the different environmental threats such as land use disturbance and increases in drought intensity. Moreover, methods that allow mapping the chemical composition of tree species and forest structure will allow us to improve our knowledge on how changes in tree biodiversity impacts ecosystem processes and functions such as carbon dynamics and biogeochemical cycles. This symposium will illustrate how passive remote sensing can improve estimations of the spatial variation of plant trait diversity and measurements of traits related with carbon gain and capture of tropical tree species. It will also illustrate how methods of active remote sensing such as ground LiDAR can improve estimations of tropical forest structure in fragmented landscapes, quantification of architectural plant traits, and mensuration of the allometry and volume of woody plant species. Further, it will provide insights into how satellite data can improve our understanding of ecosystem functioning of tropical forests, and ecosystem responses to climate changes such as drought intensity. This symposium is comprehensive and provides insights at different organizational levels to scale-up organismal level traits and forest function from individuals to communities to ecosystems. Approaches that allow scaling-up traits and ecosystem function are highly needed tropical forests to improve the monitoring and conservation of tropical forest biodiversity. In addition, these approaches will evaluate the challenges and opportunities to characterize the next 10 years of tropical forest structure and function. Finally, the results of this interdisciplinary research will allow bridging the gap between field-based studies and earth system science to enhance our ability to predict tropical forest response to current and future global changes.

Architectural traits of a Costa Rican dry forest tree community derived from LiDAR scanning
Adam Chmurzynski*

Pantropical plant functional traits dynamics mapping and predicting by integrating radar and field data on the Google Earth Engine platform
Xiongjie Deng*

The variation of canopy functional traits across the tropical forest biome
Jesus Aguirre Gutierrez*

Global mapping of the photosynthetic capacity of tropical forests using Sentinel-2A imagery
Eleanor Thomson*

Integration of leaf spectral reflectance variability improves classification at different taxonomic levels.
Natalia Quinteros*, Douglas Daly and Shawn Serbin

Assessing the link between spectral diversity and functional diversity
Jesús Pinto-Ledezma*

Estimation of forest stand structure in Andean landscapes using 3D UAV remote sensing
Sergio Bolívar-Santamaría* and Björn Reu

Data fusion to hindcast forest structural trajectories during secondary succession in tropical forests
T. Trevor Caughlin* and Cristina Barber

Hydrological environments, climate, and plant traits structure large-scale Amazon forest drought response
Shuli Chen*, Scott Stark, Antonio Nobre, Adriana Cuartas, Diogo Amore, Natalia Restrepo-Coupe, Marielle Smith, Hongseok Ko, Bruce Walker Nelson and Scott Saleska

Using GEDI tree-height data to understand the large-scale dynamics of tropical mountains mediated by landsliding
Carla Restrepo*, Laura Ospina, Francisco Álvarez-Vargas and Ana Kilgore


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