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Modeling functional diversity and resilience of Amazon Forest to climate change beyond carbon stocks

Grant number: 19/04223-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2019
Effective date (End): February 28, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:David Montenegro Lapola
Grantee:Bianca Fazio Rius
Home Institution: Centro de Pesquisas Meteorológicas e Climáticas Aplicadas à Agricultura (CEPAGRI). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/02537-7 - AmazonFACE/ME: the Amazon-FACE Model-Experiment integration project - the role of biodiversity and climate feedbacks, AP.PFPMCG.JP


The uncertainties regarding the resilience of Amazon basin forests to climate change isof primary importance in a rapidly changing world considering that these ecosystemsprovide a considerable amount of goods and services to humanity. In that sense, thisproposal intends to investigate the resilience of Amazon forest to climate change takinginto account the ecosystem's multifunctionality and the role of functional diversity inpromoting it (or not). For this, we will further develop and apply the Dynamic GlobalVegetation Model (DGVM) named CAETÊ (Carbon and Ecosystem Functional TraitEvaluation model), a trait-based model that seeks to represent plant functional diversitymore reliably through the usage of empirical values (that are variants in space and time)for functional traits. This approach allows us to investigate issues related to functionaldiversity that were previously impossible to make due to the plant functional type (PFT)scheme used in most DGVMs; an approach in which functional traits are fixed in spaceand time and which, in addition to making it impossible to study functional diversity,may lead to an underestimation of ecosystem resilience. Six functional traits composethe focus of the present proposal: specific leaf area, wood density, adult plant height,nitrogen and phosphorous contents on leaves and g1 (stomatal condunctance sensitivityto CO 2 assimilation rate). As specific objectives we intend to answer : (i) Howconsistently is the approach used by CAETÊ in represent the different facets offunctional diversity (functional identity, richness, divergence, evenness andredundancy) when compared to empirical measurements?; (ii) How the different facetsof functional diversity are related to ecosystem functioning considering the followingprocesses: net primary productivity, vegetation carbon stock and evapotranspiration?;(iii) What are the impacts of climate change on the different facets of functionaldiversity? and (iv) How resilient in terms of the resistance and recovery of its ecosystemprocesses (cited in question ii) are Amazon forest to climate change and what is the roleof functional diversity? To understand the impacts of climate change we will use threelevels (from low to high severity) of disturbance on three climatic variables(temperature, precipitation and CO 2 concentration). We hope that our approach improvethe representation of functional diversity in vegetation models allowing an advance onthe compreehension of the functional diversity role in determining ecosystemfuncioning and resilience. This is of primary importance in the face of the expectedclimate changes that together with land use change will certanly lead to a loss onbiodiversity (including functional diversity loss). In that sense, fill these knowledgegaps could, ultimately, lead to a better management and conservation strategies forbiodiversity.