TROBIT has three over-arching aims:

  1. To gain a new knowledge of the underlying physiological basis of environmental and edaphic determinants of the distribution of tropical vegetation at a global scale.
  2. To integrate this information into predictive models to allow new and better predictions of the impending tropical vegetation change and associated feedbacks on future climate.
  3. To ensure that this multidisciplinary research is policy-relevant, both globally (UNFCC, UN Biodiversity Convention), and across the tropics.

To address these aims, we are examining:

Environmental process, soils and plant distribution. Using a standarised sampling and measurement methodology, researchers are probing the fundamental plant physiological processes (photosynthesis, water relations), vegetation stand structure and composition, and soil physical and chemical properties for approximately 60 sites of differing structure, with an emphasis on “hot spot” rainforest/savanna transition zones.

The Changing tropical environment. We are using new large-scale methodologies to quantify the rates of change in tropical vegetation structure, fire frequency and the extent and magnitude of other disturbances.

Understanding tropical biome distributions. Studying the current tropical plant distributions in a mechanistic and globally consistent manner.

Tropical biome structure/function relationships. We are creating new calibrated and mechanistic models of tropical vegetation distribution and function.

Tropical vegetation feedbacks and climate change. To gain new insights into impending tropical vegetation change and associated feedbacks on 21st century climate change.

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