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Trends Ecol Evol. 2015 Jun;30(6):334-46. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2015.03.010. Epub 2015 Apr 17.

Whole-ecosystem experimental manipulations of tropical forests.

Author information

1
Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre of Academy of Sciences Czech Republic and Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic; Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY, UK; Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Electronic address: tmfayle@gmail.com.
2
Insect Ecology Group, University Museum of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK.
3
Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre of Academy of Sciences Czech Republic and Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 0843-03092, Panama City, Republic of Panama.
4
Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY, UK.
5
The Royal Society SE Asia Rainforest Research Programme, Danum Valley Field Centre, PO Box 60282, 91112 Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia.
6
Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre of Academy of Sciences Czech Republic and Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic.

Abstract

Tropical forests are highly diverse systems involving extraordinary numbers of interactions between species, with each species responding in a different way to the abiotic environment. Understanding how these systems function and predicting how they respond to anthropogenic global change is extremely challenging. We argue for the necessity of 'whole-ecosystem' experimental manipulations, in which the entire ecosystem is targeted, either to reveal the functioning of the system in its natural state or to understand responses to anthropogenic impacts. We survey the current range of whole-ecosystem manipulations, which include those targeting weather and climate, nutrients, biotic interactions, human impacts, and habitat restoration. Finally we describe the unique challenges and opportunities presented by such projects and suggest directions for future experiments.

KEYWORDS:

climate change; forest fragmentation; forest restoration; logging; nutrients; species interactions

PMID:
25896491
DOI:
10.1016/j.tree.2015.03.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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