Special Issue "Tropical Forests Ecology and Climate Change"

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A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Lee A. Dyer

Biology Department, University of Nevada Reno, 1664 N. Virginia St., Reno, NV 89557, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: diversity; chemical ecology; tropical ecology; entomology; interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Models of global climate change consistently predict that temperature increases in the tropics over the next century will be relatively moderate, but extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, will become more frequent. These extreme weather events will affect diversity and other community parameters of tropical forests. For example, floods can trigger outbreaks in tropical forests via disrupting natural enemy control of herbivores and altering host plant abundance and quality. In addition to climate change, concomitant increases in fragmentation and habitat loss along with increases in invasive species have drastic consequences for tropical communities and are likely to synergize with the negative effects of extreme weather events. We seek papers that address questions about the community-level consequences of climate change on tropical forests as well as the more general and interactive effects of other global change parameters. Empirical studies from natural and managed tropical ecosystems should include at least one of the following: careful models, a strong experimental approach, thorough observational data, results from mensurative experiments, or elucidation of multiple mechanisms by which global change changes tropical forest diversity or related community parameters. Thorough review papers, including meta-analyses are also encouraged.

Prof. Dr. Lee A. Dyer
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • extreme weather events
  • tropical forests
  • biodiversity
  • global change
  • communities
  • ecosystems
  • outbreaks

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Preliminary Assessment of Ethiopian Sacred Grove Status at the Landscape and Ecosystem Scales.
Diversity 2013, 5(2), 320-334; doi:10.3390/d5020320
Received: 23 February 2013 / Revised: 22 March 2013 / Accepted: 11 April 2013 / Published: 19 April 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (940 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The northern Ethiopian landscape is dotted with small patches of church forests that are religious centers for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC). These sacred groves are what remain of the once vast tropical Afromontane dry forest. Herein we review the landscape pattern
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The northern Ethiopian landscape is dotted with small patches of church forests that are religious centers for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC). These sacred groves are what remain of the once vast tropical Afromontane dry forest. Herein we review the landscape pattern of sacred groves in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, and their local scale nutrient status at two sites, Zahara and Debresena. A total of 1,488 sacred groves were inventoried within the study area, yielding an overall density of one sacred grove for every twenty square kilometers. Sacred groves averaged a little over five hectares and were separated from one another by more than two kilometers. At the local scale we found that soil carbon and nitrogen stocks have decreased significantly between the forest interior and the clearing indicating decreased soil fertility. Together our data indicate that these sacred groves are vulnerable to loss because of their small average size, isolation from seed sources, and decreasing soil status. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Forests Ecology and Climate Change)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Post-Glacial Spatial Dynamics in a Rainforest Biodiversity Hot Spot
Diversity 2013, 5(1), 124-138; doi:10.3390/d5010124
Received: 21 November 2012 / Revised: 26 February 2013 / Accepted: 14 March 2013 / Published: 20 March 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (913 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Here we investigate the interaction between ecology and climate concerning the distribution of rainforest species differentially distributed along altitudinal gradients of eastern Australia. The potential distributions of the two species closely associated with different rainforest types were modelled to infer the potential contribution
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Here we investigate the interaction between ecology and climate concerning the distribution of rainforest species differentially distributed along altitudinal gradients of eastern Australia. The potential distributions of the two species closely associated with different rainforest types were modelled to infer the potential contribution of post-glacial warming on spatial distribution and altitudinal range shift. Nothofagus moorei is an integral element of cool temperate rainforest, including cloud forests at high elevation. This distinct climatic envelope is at increased risk with future global warming. Elaeocarpus grandis on the other hand is a lowland species and typical element of subtropical rainforest occupying a climatic envelope that may shift upwards into areas currently occupied by N. moorei. Climate envelope models were used to infer range shift differences between the two species in the past (21 thousand years ago), current and future (2050) scenarios, and to provide a framework to explain observed genetic diversity/structure of both species. The models suggest continuing contraction of the highland cool temperate climatic envelope and expansion of the lowland warm subtropical envelope, with both showing a core average increase in elevation in response to post-glacial warming. Spatial and altitudinal overlap between the species climatic envelopes was at a maximum during the last glacial maximum and is predicted to be a minimum at 2050. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Forests Ecology and Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Human-Induced Disturbance Alters Pollinator Communities in Tropical Mountain Forests
Diversity 2013, 5(1), 1-14; doi:10.3390/d5010001
Received: 13 November 2012 / Revised: 29 November 2012 / Accepted: 14 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (686 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Mountain forest ecosystems in the Andes are threatened by deforestation. Increasing fire frequencies lead to fire-degraded habitats that are often characterized by a persistent fern-dominated vegetation. Little is known about the consequences of these drastic changes in habitat conditions for pollinator communities. In
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Mountain forest ecosystems in the Andes are threatened by deforestation. Increasing fire frequencies lead to fire-degraded habitats that are often characterized by a persistent fern-dominated vegetation. Little is known about the consequences of these drastic changes in habitat conditions for pollinator communities. In a rapid diversity assessment, we collected individuals of two major groups of insect pollinators (bees and butterflies/moths) with pan traps and compared pollinator diversities in a spatial block design between forest interior, forest edge and adjacent fire-degraded habitats at eight sites in the Bolivian Andes. We found that bee species richness and abundance were significantly higher in fire-degraded habitats than in forest habitats, whereas species richness and abundance of butterflies/moths increased towards the forests interior. Species turnover between forest and fire-degraded habitats was very high for both pollinator groups and was reflected by an increase in the body size of bee species and a decrease in the body size of butterfly/moth species in fire-degraded habitats. We conclude that deforestation by frequent fires has profound impacts on the diversity and composition of pollinator communities. Our tentative findings suggest shifts towards bee-dominated pollinator communities in fire-degraded habitats that may have important feedbacks on the regenerating communities of insect-pollinated plant species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Forests Ecology and Climate Change)

Review

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Open AccessReview Can Climate Change Trigger Massive Diversity Cascades in Terrestrial Ecosystems?
Diversity 2013, 5(3), 479-504; doi:10.3390/d5030479
Received: 3 May 2013 / Revised: 8 June 2013 / Accepted: 13 June 2013 / Published: 5 July 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (630 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We summarize research on diversity and trophic interactions under a trophic cascades model that is reframed and expanded from the traditional biomass- or abundance- based indirect effects and discuss the response of such “diversity cascades” to climate change and other global change parameters.
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We summarize research on diversity and trophic interactions under a trophic cascades model that is reframed and expanded from the traditional biomass- or abundance- based indirect effects and discuss the response of such “diversity cascades” to climate change and other global change parameters. The studies we summarize encompass dynamic processes in which species richness or evenness in one trophic level indirectly affects or is affected by changes in a non-adjacent level. The diversity cascade concept explicitly links trophic cascades models to the debates about biodiversity loss, exotic species gain, ecosystem services and biological control. First, we summarize the idea that the trophic cascades model includes different currencies and alternative processes. Second, we question the paradigm that trophic cascades weaken as the complexity of the community increases. Third, we illustrate the mechanisms by which diversity cascades may follow indirect bottom-up and top-down pathways. Fourth, we show how this diversity cascades model has been applied successfully to frame questions in conservation, agriculture and infectious disease. Finally, we examine the implications of diversity cascades for our understanding of how climate change affects biodiversity and call for an increase in the scope of experiments and focused hypotheses on indirect trophic effects and how these processes may lead to very large changes in biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Forests Ecology and Climate Change)

Other

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Open AccessBrief Report Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity—The Setting of a Lingering Global Crisis
Diversity 2013, 5(1), 114-123; doi:10.3390/d5010114
Received: 23 January 2013 / Revised: 6 February 2013 / Accepted: 20 February 2013 / Published: 7 March 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (527 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change has created potential major threats to global biodiversity. The multiple components of climate change are projected to affect all pillars of biodiversity, from genes over species to biome level. Of particular concerns are “tipping points” where the exceedance of ecosystem thresholds
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Climate change has created potential major threats to global biodiversity. The multiple components of climate change are projected to affect all pillars of biodiversity, from genes over species to biome level. Of particular concerns are “tipping points” where the exceedance of ecosystem thresholds will possibly lead to irreversible shifts of ecosystems and their functioning. As biodiversity underlies all goods and services provided by ecosystems that are crucial for human survival and wellbeing, this paper presents potential effects of climate change on biodiversity, its plausible impacts on human society as well as the setting in addressing a global crisis. Species affected by climate change may respond in three ways: change, move or die. Local species extinctions or a rapidly affected ecosystem as a whole respectively might move toward its particular “tipping point”, thereby probably depriving its services to human society and ending up in a global crisis. Urgent and appropriate actions within various scenarios of climate change impacts on biodiversity, especially in tropical regions, are needed to be considered. Foremost a multisectoral approach on biodiversity issues with broader policies, stringent strategies and programs at international, national and local levels is essential to meet the challenges of climate change impacts on biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Forests Ecology and Climate Change)

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