Tropical forests are the most diverse terrestrial ecosystems. Moreover, their capacity for removal of carbon from the atmosphere makes them important for climate change mitigation. Theories predict that species use resources in a different way, and therefore high species diversity would result in more efficient resource use and higher total carbon removal. These theories, however, have yet not been clearly demonstrated for tropical forests. In this thesis, I evaluated how biodiversity of plants and their traits influenced carbon removal. I used data collected in different tropical forest types and at different spatial and temporal scales. I found that biodiversity was important for carbon removal especially at large spatial scales (e.g. the Amazon) where biodiversity varies strongly, and at long temporal scales (e.g. >200 years) where high biodiversity functions as a buffer for changing environmental conditions. In this way biodiversity contributes to long-term stable forests and a safe climate.
In the morning you are also cordially invited to the Mini-symposium "Biodiversity and dynamics of tropical forests" that will be organised on the occasion of Masha's PhD defence.