Hydraulic traits underlie niche differentiation and species distribution across environmental gradients in tropical ecosystems. They are also key modulators of multiple ecosystem processes and resilience. Notwithstanding their importance for many aspects of tropical ecosystem functioning, hydraulic traits are rarely used as a criteria to define protocols and inform restoration strategies in degraded tropical areas. Restoration of biodiverse tropical grasslands and savannas is complex and the current success of these projects is low. The reason biodiverse savanna restoration fail remains unknown, although it is likely that plant species being targeted lack suitable functional properties to persist in environments prone to droughts and frequent fires. In this talk, I will present how we are applying knowledge on hydraulic properties of plants to test the importance of functional trait composition to the success rates of ecosystem restoration and the provisioning of key ecosystem services in grasslands and savannas in central Brazil. Our approach provide a road map for future tropical ecosystem restoration practices by suggesting a focus on plant resource-use strategies, and particularly, hydraulic functional traits as a priority to determining ecosystem-scale stability and climate resilience in drought-prone areas.
savannas, grasslands, cerrado, brazil, functional traits, hydraulic traits