Selene Báez, National Polytechnic School of Ecuador
Emilio J Vilanova, University of California Berkeley
This symposium will communicate ongoing research that uses plant functional traits to enhance our understanding of tropical montane forest ecology.
The work that Alexander Von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland conducted in the Andes in the early 19th century, especially their classic work in Chimborazo Mountain linking the physical and biotic attributes of tropical mountains is one of the pillars of modern ecology and biogeography. Since then, we have learned that the tropical Andes are one of the most important global hotspots for species richness and endemism, for instance serving as habitat for as much as 30,000 species of vascular plants approximately (Rahbek et al., 2019). Different forest-types in this region are also critical in providing hydrological services (Bruijnzeel et al., 2011), while storing an important amount of carbon despite covering a relatively small area compared to other forest-types (Cuni-Sanchez et al., 2017; Spracklen and Righelato, 2014). Furthermore, compared to the their lowland counterparts, montane forests have received less attention with regard to understanding their ecology, structure and function, even when these areas have one of the highest deforestation rates (Aide et al., 2019). This symposium seeks to bring together a community of scientists from different parts of the world using plant functional traits to understand Andean forest ecology. We think this symposium offers an opportunity for researchers, decision-makers, practitioners, and community leaders from around the world to broaden our view about Andean biodiversity, ecology and conservation. More specifically, our aim for this symposium is to discuss potential answers to the following fundamental questions:
*What is the current availability of functional trait data for tree species in Andean forests?
*How do functional traits relate to climatic and soil conditions in Andean tree species?
*What are the most relevant environmental drivers of community scale functional trait composition in Andean forests?
*How functional trait composition and primary productivity could shift in response to ongoing climate change in Andean forests?
These questions would be addressed in four scientific short talks and a 20-min live discussion in which participants will present different views on scientific and conservation issues relevant to a wide range of forest types in the Andes. An ultimate goal of this symposium is to enhance scientific collaboration and networking among tropical ecologists working in one of the most diverse areas of the world.
FunAndes – A plant functional trait database of Andean tropical forests (Guillermo Bañares de Dios)
Elevation influences mean but not variance of functional traits in a High Andean ecosystem (Claudia Garnica-Díaz)
Topography as a factor driving small-scale variation in tree fine root traits and root functional diversity in a species-rich tropical (Kerstin Pierick)
Functional traits in Neotropical trees: the role of climate, soil and evolutionary history (Selene Báez)