COMMUNITY team – Ecology and diversity of plant communities

The team works at the level of plant communities considered in all its biotic complexity. Its objective is to assess the diversity of species ecological strategies in relation with the functioning and dynamics of the plant community. Our approach relies on the explicit consideration of intra-specific variability in eco-physiological and architectural traits (above- and below-ground) in the functional diversity of communities. We expect an original contribution to the question of how ecological strategies are expressed along environmental (e.g. of altitude) or disturbance (human-induced successions) gradients. Our aim is to apply research results the identification of ecosystem services and resilience mechanisms of the ecosystems under study (mangroves, tropical rainforest, Andean vegetation, Temperate mountain forests).

Ecosystem services we target include carbon sequestration, slope stability, coastline protection against extreme hydrodynamical events. Field studies aim at characterizing the response of agro- and eco-systems against fluctuations of their macroenvironment (climate, disturbances), at assessing the importance of biotic interactions in the system dynamics, and at characterizing their capacity to modify their local environment (soil properties, micro-climate). Characterinzing the structure and dynamics of agro- and ecosystems, especially forest systems, relies on (i) field experimental stations in various regions of the world, specifically in tropical regions, with permanent observatories in French Guiana, central Africa, India and New Caledonia, and (ii) innovative tools and remote sensing methods that we try to couple with models of ecosystem dynamics.