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New Special Feature by the British Ecological Society, “Demography Beyond the Population,” includes 3 new ForestGEO articles!

There is a new Special Feature of the British Ecological Society (BES) Journals that includes CTFS – ForestGEO data from Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, and Panama!

This exciting collaborative and interdisciplinary Special Feature, Demography Beyond the Population, integrates original lines of research in the vast field of demography. The articles featuring ForestGEO data are found in the Journal of Ecology and Functional Ecology.

The Case of Ash Dieback

How can we use modeling to forecast the response of forests to ash dieback disease? Jessica Needham and colleagues built models that predict forest community response to the loss of Fraxinus excelsior L. (European ash) using demographic data from Wytham Woods. Their methodology introduces a new way to identifying demographic strategies such as growth, survival, and fecundity and linking them to population dynamics. This is done through integral projection and individual-based models that project community responses to significant tree mortality that will influence regeneration in woodlands across the globe.

Climate Change and Second-Growth Forests

How can we address uncertainties in predicting responses of second-growth forests to climate change? Maria Uriarte and colleagues present a neighborhood modeling approachto tackle uncertainties in a second-growth tropical rainforest in Puerto Rico. The dynamic nature and high species diversity of second-growth forests led Maria Uriarte and colleagues to identify traits to better understand how individual trees and species will contribute to forest successional change. Specifically, a hierarchical Bayesian approach was used to provide insight into the variation in drought tolerance and consequences for successional trajectories in tropical rainforests given shifts in climate.

Functional Traits as Good Predictors

How can functional biology help us better understand tropical forest dynamics? Marco Visser and colleagues use functional traits as predictors of vital rates across the life-cycle of tropical trees in Barro Colorado Island, Panama. This model-averaging approach lessens the uncertainty in predictive power of functional traits by identifying easily measured traits that are good predictors of life history and demographic performance. In this case, wood density, seed mass, and adult stature served as good predictors of life history.

For more information, please click here for the editorial and here for a Methods in Ecology and Evolution blog that features CTFS – ForestGEO Ecologist, Sean McMahon.