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Terryn, Louise Winners and Losers: does water availability affect the Structural Economic Spectrum of tropical forests? Poster Downloadable
Louise Terryn1, Kim Calders1, Patrick Meir2, Martin Herold3, Harm Bartholomeus3, Yadvinder Malhi4, Alexander Shenkin4 and Hans Verbeeck1
(1) University of Ghent(2) Australian National University(3) Wageningen University, Netherlands(4) University of Oxford

Forests are under increased levels of stress due to climate change which has led to drought induced forest-dieback all around the world. Drought endangers the wide range of essential ecosystem services, such as uptake of anthropogenic CO$_2$ emissions, and subsequently impacts forest composition, biodiversity conservation and resilience. Forest structure is closely linked to forest functioning and therefore plays an important role in the climate system, however underlying mechanisms are uncertain. The structural economic spectrum (SES), which is essentially the spectrum of different structural strategies that trees and plants have developed over time, helps to improve our understanding of tree form-function relationships. To support climate mitigation actions and forest management, we need fundamental knowledge on ecosystem resilience towards droughts. Here, we will study if and how water availability and drought affects the structural-functional tree diversity represented by the SES. We will use a novel dataset consisting of TLS, UAV-LS, UAV-HS and functional traits from three different tropical forest plots across a rainfall gradient in Australia. Besides this long-term response to water availability we will also study the short term effect through a specific drought experiment, which has been established in one of the plots since 2015. Ultimately, we expect outcomes to advance our understanding of ecosystem functioning, forest resilience towards climate warming and more extreme droughts and essentially determine which trees will be the winners, and which ones will be the losers.