Tropical forests harbor exceptionally high plant species diversity and store large amounts of carbon in vegetation biomass. The proportion of atmospheric CO2 sequestered by tropical tree species determines the terrestrial carbon sink strength. Hence loss of tropical forests due to increasing human pressures, such as deforestation and anthropogenic emissions severely impacts global biodiversity and carbon stocks and might feedback on future climate.
Florian’s research aims to gain a better understanding of the biogeochemical functioning of tropical forests and how these complex ecosystems might respond to projected global changes. Current vegetation models predict catastrophic forest dieback scenarios, whereas experimental studies suggest a positive effect of CO2-fertilization on tropical tree growth. Next generation vegetation models could open up a new avenue exploring the underlying mechanisms determining the functioning of tropical forest ecosystems by including crucial factors such as forest dynamics and plant functional traits.
Analyzing intra- and interspecific trait variation across environmental gradients in tropical forests, his research focuses on bridging between model-based and empirical research by implementing mechanistic factors shaping habitat heterogeneity and functional diversity thus improving model projections of tropical ecosystem functioning under future scenarios.
Read more about Dr. Hofhansl’s research here.
Funding: IIASA Postdoctoral Program
Program: Ecosystems Services and Management Program and Evolution and Ecology Program
Dates: July 2018 - present
Last edited: 14 January 2019
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