Stability of the Amazon rainforest

Although tropical forests only cover around 10% of the Earth’s land surface, they host at least 2/3 of the world’s flora and fauna diversity, 96% of global tree species and deliver a range of essential ecosystem services. However, an increase in drought frequency and intensity over the Amazon forest has been predicted due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Such an increase in drought events is expected to cause an increase in fire activity, tree mortality and carbon emissions to the atmosphere within large areas of the Amazon. It is thus of utmost importance to understand how tropical forests respond to drought and what environmental factors mediate tropical forest stability. The general objective of this research is to gain insight in the drought resistance and resilience mechanisms of tropical forests. By using remote sensing technology we will be able to study how tropical forest tree species diversity interacts with stability in the face of drought, and this in a spatial explicit way crossing different spatial scales; from local to regional. Researcher: Johanna Van Passel

Koenraad Van Meerbeek
Koenraad Van Meerbeek
Assistant professor