Project properties

Title Litter production during secondary succession in tropical wet forest in Mexico
Group Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group
Project type thesis
Credits 39
Supervisor(s) prof. dr. F. Bongers
Examiner(s) prof. dr. L (Lourens) Poorter
Contact info
Begin date 2022/01/01
End date 2022/07/01
Description The general problem:
During secondary succession after land abandonment in the wet tropics the
vegetation recovers rapidly. With biomass building up, the productivity and the
biomass cycling also increases. Generally with more standing biomass the
litter production also increases. With increasing litterfall more possibilities for
decomposition, depending on litter quality and local conditions. Over time during
succession the net biomass production may increase to a certain maximum, the
old growth above ground biomass. Seasonal variation is high with generally most
litterfall at the end of the dry season.
MSc Thesis:
In this project you will evaluate litter production during secondary
succession in this wet tropical forest and focus on changes with season, year,
and forest age. You may relate litterfall to standing above ground biomass and
other factors. You may also dive into litter production as part of primary productivity in
regrowing forests.
Data and Methods:
We have data available on monthly litter production in half a dozen successional forests
of different ages for a period of 13 years (2002-2014), 12 litterfall traps per forest.
Litterfall data consist of dry weight of leaf fraction, small branches, flowers, seeds
and a rest fraction. For all these forests we have also aboveground standing
biomass at yearly intervals. And changes in the surrounding forest area over time. You will use available data and evaluate these in the light of secondary succession and passive restoration opportunities in wet tropical forest.
The work will be done in Wageningen. If covid allows there may be opportunity to spend some time in Mexico
Who are you?
You are an MSc student interested in forest ecology, forest use, forest management. Interest in restoration issues is an advantage.
Corona proof: i.e. no field work (abroad) or intensive lab studies required

[Forest restoration and succession/Tropical zone/America's]
Used skills Database handling, modelling, statistical analyses using eg R
Requirements FEM-30306 Forest Ecology and Forest Management; REG-31806 Ecological Methods I; GIS courses. Alternatives are discussable