October 21, 2010

CTFS Awarded NSF Grant to Study Diversity and Forest Change

The US National Science Foundation’s Dimensions of Biodiversity initiative has awarded CTFS $631,640 over five years to study the taxonomic, genetic, and functional dimensions of tree diversity and their impact on forest structure and function. The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University will manage the grant, and the Chinese National Science Foundation will provide matching funds.

The research will combine long-term temperate and tropical forest studies across entire tree communities to parameterize models that incorporate functional and genetic variation among species to test predictions about current and future changes in forests. Integration of multiple dimensions of biodiversity will significantly increase understanding of how forests are structured‹a critical and necessary step toward predicting how these systems will respond to global change.

The project will involve many partners sites of the global CTFS-SIGEO network.


Dimensions IRCN: Diversity and Forest Change: Characterizing functional, phylogenetic, and genetic contributions to diversity gradients and dynamics in tree communities

Project Summary

Understanding diversity’s impact on forest structure and function: The project will bring together two existing forest research networks in the US and China to advance understanding of how taxonomic, functional, and genetic dimensions of diversity structure tree communities and affect their resilience to global change. Together these networks maintain 24 large-scale forest plots in tropical and temperate forests in Asia and the Americas, providing data on the demography, functional traits, phylogenetic relatedness, and environmental preferences of thousands of species. Through a series of symposia, analytical workshops, and international scientific exchanges, these data will be used to ask: (i) what functional traits underlie species demographics and distributions across environmental gradients, (ii) how functional traits and phylogenetic relatedness of communities link to forest function; and (iii) how functional traits and environmental tolerances vary among individuals within species.; and (iv) how gene flow contributes to genetic diversity at local and regional scales. By combining long-term temperate and tropical forest studies across entire tree communities, we will be able to parameterize models that incorporate knowledge about functional and genetic variation among species to test predictions about current and future changes in the forests.

Building capacity in biodiversity research
: The project will be implemented through a series of capacity-building and training initiatives that will expand science and enhance collaboration between the US and China. The strengthening of the network of forest research plots in Asia and the Americas will have long-term benefits for American and Chinese researchers examining the role of forests in a changing global environment. Through workshops and symposia focused on the relationships between taxonomic, functional, and genetic dimensions of biodiversity and ecosystem processes, we will engage approximately 100 students and early-career scientists over five years. An international scientific exchange program will enable 10 US students and early-career researchers to spend 3 months in collaborating institutions in China. Chinese scientists will have similar opportunities in the US through a parallel proposal to NSF-China. These scientists will be drawn from the US, China, and other developing countries in Asia and the Americas. In addition, the scientific workshops will result in the development of new analytical tools and data compilations that will be made openly available through the web.

October 18, 2010

Enumeration Progress at Harvard Forest

The census of woody stems within the 35-ha Harvard Forest plot began on 1 June 2010. Using standardized CTFS-SIGEO methodology, Dave Orwig and three 2-person crews measured, tagged, painted, and mapped every stem greater than 1 cm in diameter at 1.3 m. By 27 August, when vegetation sampling for the year ended, 29,908 stems had been tagged, mapped, and measured, representing approximately 13 hectares.

The 3 western columns were particularly dense, containing dense thickets of mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia). Stem densities averaged 2,301/ha and ranged from 1,756 to 3,071/ha. All stems were entered twice into the temporary database during the summer, and Dave Orwig will continue to screen and edit all data for uploading to the database during autumn 2010. In addition, work will proceed with digitally mapping all stems contained on the 1,300 10 x 10 maps produced from the 13 ha of forest.

October 7, 2010

2010 Research Grants Program Recipients

CTFS is pleased to announce the 2010 Research Grants Program recipients. This year’s cycle attracted 58 proposals requesting more than USD $1,000,000. Out of this pool, 11 proposals were selected for full or partial funding. Thank you to all applicants for your interest in the CTFS network. The deadline for the next grant cycle is 1 April 2011. See our website for application details.

Click here to view the names of the recipients and their proposal titles.

2010 CTFS Research Grants Program Recipients

Lei Chen, “The role of density dependence in community assembly: Implications from adult tree pattern and seedling dynamics in both subtropical and tropical forest.” Gutianshan, China; BCI, Panama.

Neal Enrigh, “Understanding the population dynamics of Nageia motleyi (Podocarpaceae) in lowland tropical rainforests of South-east Asia.” Pasoh, Malaysia.

Gonçalo Ferraz and Cintia Cornelius, “Predicting occurrence of cavity-nesting birds from tree demographic data.” Manaus, Brazil.

David L. Gorchov, Melissa K. McCormick, Dennis F. Whigham, “Exotic Plant Invasion in Temperate Deciduous Forest: Patterns and Processes.” SERC, USA.

Steven W. Kembel, Jessica L. Green, “Quantifying the scaling of bacterial phyllosphere diversity: The role of space, environment, and host plant attributes.”
BCI, Panama.

Madhava Meegaskumbura and Suyama Meegaskumbura, “Determining microclimatic envelopes and monitoring populations of Sri Lankan Shrub-Frogs in Sinharaja 25 ha. plot to understand finer scale determinants of their distribution, reproduction and survival.” Sinharaja, Sri Lanka.

Eadaoin M.I. Quinn, “Does age-related crown thinning occur in canopy-dominant tropical trees?” BCI, Panama.

Siewe Siewe Siewe and Jacqueline Vadjunec, “Degradation and carbon stocks dynamics: An analysis of the anthropogenic impact on deforestation and degradation in the Korup National Park.” Korup, Cameroon.

Erin Spear, “Agents of change: Identifying phytopathogens and their contributions to tree diversity.” BCI, Panama.

Pimonrat Tiansawat, “Ecological significance of seed traits in the genus Macaranga.” Lambir, Malaysia.

October 1, 2010

CTFS-AA Program Assistant Appointed: Sara Lischynsky

We are pleased to announce that Sara Lischynsky has joined the Center for Tropical Forest Science-Arnold Arboretum (CTFS-AA) Asia Program to serve as Program Assistant.

Sara joins CTFS-AA following a position as Assistant to the Deans of Suffolk University’s College of Arts & Sciences, where she also pursued studies in graphic design. Originally from New York State, Sara earned her BA degree at Emerson College in Boston, studying publishing and communication.

She will be based at the CTFS office at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.