Understanding the Resilience of Amazonian Forests

Climate warming is increasing the frequency and severity of droughts and fires. We are using a combination of methodological approaches to assess and understand the capacity of Amazonian forests to cope and recover from these perturbations.

We demonstrated that floodplain forests can fail to recover after fire and remain in an open savanna-like vegetation state. Now we are revealing the ecological mechanisms that explain this low forest resilience.

Our research is starting to show that the recovery capacity of floodplain forests relies on strong feedbacks between the aquatic and terrestrial systems. These feedbacks include seed dispersal limitation, increased nutrient erosion and changes in disturbance regimes. We hypothesise that loss of fruit-eating fishes in burned forests may be one of the main underlying causes preventing forest regeneration.  

We have an interdisciplinary team with colleagues from Brazil including Bernardo Flores, Marina Hirota, Arnold Lugo, Ricardo Torres and Jansen Zuanon.