Project properties

Title Resilience of old-growth tropical dry forests: assessment and drivers
Group Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group
Project type thesis
Credits 36-39
Supervisor(s) FEM group: R (Rodrigo) Mu�oz Aviles, FJJM (Frans) Bongers
Other organisation: JA (Jorge) Meave
Examiner(s) L (Lourens) Poorter
Contact info
Begin date 2021/05/01
End date 2022/06/01
Description Also possible as MSc internship

Severe droughts associated to El Ni�o Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events are known to have a devastating effect on tropical forest ecosystems in the Americas. High biodiversity is thought to produce more resilient forests. However, quantitative evidence for this assumption is almost nonexistent given the difficulty in gathering high quality, long-term information on the dynamics of forests before and after an ENSO severe drought occurs.

In this study you will take advantage of one of the longest high-temporal resolution datasets of forest dynamics available to date for tropical forests. The study site will be the region of Nizanda, Mexico. Here, the dynamics of old-growth forests have been followed for 18 years on an annual basis. The forest dynamics has been tracked in several plots, which differ in species diversity. You will assess the resilience of this tropical forest to the 2015 ENSO severe drought event and determine the role that species diversity plays on drought resilience.

During this project, you will bring to practice your knowledge about ecological theory and will develop statistical skills required to work with resilience metrics. You will also be working on a very novel and timely topic useful for climate change mitigation and for climate-smart forestry.

If topic is part of research project:

Climate change effects /Biodiversity and functional diversity/ Population and forest dynamics/ Forest restoration and succession / Modelling / America's/ Tropical zone

Corona proof: Yes
Used skills None compulsory but previous experience in R modelling is an asset
Requirements - WEC-31806 Ecological Methods I, or a comparable alternative course;
- One FEM course (at least), depending on the topic of the thesis: FEM-30306 Forest Ecology and Forest Management, FEM-30806 Resource Dynamics Sustainable Utilization, FEM-32306 Agroforestry, or Models for Ecological Systems FEM-31806