Wednesday, August 4, 2010: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
315-316, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Scott R. Saleska
Alfredo R. Huete
Scott C. Stark
Scott R. Saleska
Tropical forests are key components of the global carbon and water cycles, and understanding their large-scale ecology is critical to understanding terrestrial ecosystem feedbacks to global climate. The integration of cutting edge tools such as LIDAR and multi-spectral remote sensing, with classical methods such as forest plot inventories, is providing new insights into tropical forest function at multiple scales. For example, airborne or spaceborne LIDAR in combination with large-scale plot studies and eddy flux towers allow plot-scale forest demography to be linked to landscape-scale forest structure and to ecosystem-atmosphere carbon exchange. At the same time, combining long-term space-borne observations of vegetation (e.g. via MODIS) with high temporal resolution eddy flux measurements gives new insights into forest responses to both seasonal and interannual climate variability. The latest vegetation models aim to predict the response of tropical forests to climate change by scaling concepts of individual tree performance, resource use and competition to the landscape. This symposium aims to foster two important emerging trends: (1) the integration of diverse methods to provide new insights and strengthen ecological understanding of the problem, and (2) the integration of ecological theory with applied studies of tropical forests and climate change. Examples of '1' include resolving apparent contradictions between the findings of remote sensing and plot-based studies for the response of forests to droughts while examples of '2' include testing competing large-scale mechanistic models of forest structure against data with modern model comparison techniques. Speakers represent a wide variety of approaches to the question of tropical forest responses to global change, and all speakers have been challenged to directly address syntheses between diverse methods and between theory and applied global change research.