DyAFor - Dynamics and community assembly of tropical forests

Community ecology
Functional ecology
Forest dynamics

Our main objective is to improve our understanding of tree community dynamics and assembly in tropical forests, in order to predict their potential future under different global change scenarios.

Using a diversity of tools from different fields (e.g. ecophysiology, genomics, remote sensing, modelling) in various environmental and anthropogenic contexts across the tropics, we provide evidence-based knowledge on the mechanisms that shape the temporal and spatial variability of the diversity, structure, and functioning of tropical forests.
To this end, we use three complementary approaches: i) the implementation of experiments that allow to empirically control variables or processes of interest in order to understand their effects; ii) the collection of field observations to document existing patterns and inform their underlying processes using statistical frameworks; iii) the development of models to assimilate various data and evaluate empirical knowledge on processes and their interactions. The integration of these three mutually-informative approaches allows to identify the spatial and temporal scales at which ecological and evolutionary processes act and interact in shaping the dynamics and assembly of tropical forests, and improve our ability to predict the fate of tropical forests with increasing anthropogenic pressure and climate stress. Our work focuses mainly on plants, but can also integrate other trophic levels (e.g. herbivores and micro-organisms) that play a key role in certain processes, such as the maintenance of local diversity through negative density dependence, or carbon and nutrient fluxes through decomposition.

Our multidisciplinary team develops research projects in South America (French Guiana, Peru and Ecuador), Central Africa (Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, and DR Congo), Asia (India and Thailand) and the Pacific (New Caledonia and Pacific islands), thus opening up perspectives for regional syntheses and intercontinental comparisons across the tropics. In each of these projects, we rely in particular on networks of permanent forest plots et up and monitored by ourselves and our collaborators in French Guiana (Guyadiv), Central Africa (Africadiv) and New Caledonia (NC-PIPPN). These networks represent c. 850 plots of 100 m2 up to 1 ha and c. 200,000 inventoried trees. We also leverage data from large international networks, such as the Amazon Tree Diversity Network or ForestGeo. Some projects benefit from collaborative research infrastructures, such as LabEx CEBA in French Guiana, LMI BioInca in Ecuador and Colombia, or LMI DYCOFAC in Central Africa. Our group regularly goes in the field on short trips or long stays (e.g. expats), thus ensuring the long-term maintenance of field set-ups and local collaborative networks

Acronym Title Duration
ADMIREPartenariat pour l’Analyse des DynaMIques de REforestation et de la résilience forestière
Project PI: Philippe BIRNBAUM 
2021 - 2024
AFRIFIREDéterminants et impacts du régime des feux en Afrique tropicale
Project PI: Charly FAVIER (ISEM)  / Maxime REJOU-MECHAIN 
2021 - 2022
ALTAmazonian Landscapes in Transition
Project PI: Jérôme CHAVE (EDB, Toulouse)  
2022 - 2025
CyclonesImpacts des cyclones tropicaux sur la structure et le fonctionnement des forêts denses humides
Project PI: Gunnar KEPPEL (UniSA)  
2019 - 2023
DeepRootInto the deep: exploring root distribution and function in tropical forests.
Project PI: Claire FORTUNEL / Isabelle MARECHAUX 
2019 - 2022
DESSFORDegraded Stable States in Tropical Forests
Project PI: Maxime REJOU-MECHAIN 
2021 - 2024
DOPAMICSDomestication and adaptation in Neotropical palms – a microevolutionary history
Project PI: Louise BROUSSEAU 
2022 - 2027
INTRACOUnravelling the role of intraspecific variability in tree species coexistence in tropical forest
Project PI: Ghislain VIEILLEDENT / Isabelle MARECHAUX 
2020 - 2023
ISLETSIsland leaf economics trait synthesis
Project PI: Kasey BARTON (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)  / Claire FORTUNEL 
2021 - 2022
LECOInvestigating the physiological underpinnings of leaf turnover and its consequences on the seasonality of ecosystem fluxes in tropical rainforests: from Leaf-level measurements to ECOsystem-wide simulations
Project PI: Isabelle MARECHAUX 
2021 - 2023
LECOSUnravelling the drivers of carbon flux seasonality in tropical rainforests: from Leaf-level measurements to ECOsystem-wide Simulations
Project PI: Isabelle MARECHAUX 
2021 - 2022
ManagForResEffet de la gestion forestière sur la réponse des écosystèmes forestiers guyanais aux changements climatiques
Project PI: Géraldine DERROIRE (CIRAD, ECOFOG)  
2020 - 2022
METRADICAMechanistic traits to predict shifts in tree species abundance and distribution with climate change in the Amazonian forest
Project PI: Ghislain VIEILLEDENT / Clément STAHL (INRAE, ECOFOG)  
2020 - 2022
PhenobsTowards a phenology observatory in French Guiana to study climate-vegetation feedbacks and the diversity of plant strategies
Project PI: Nicolas BARBIER 
2020 - 2022
SynTreeSysSynthesis of Neotropical Tree Biodiversity with Plot Inventories
Project PI: Jérôme CHAVE (EDB, Toulouse)  / Adriane ESQUIVEL MUELBERT (University of Birmingham (UK))  
2021 - 2024
Tall TreesA 3D perspective on the effects of topography and wind on forest height and dynamics
Project PI: David COOMES (Cambridge University)  
2019 - 2023
UnderstoryAn infrastructure to explore plant diversity of the Amazonian forest understory
Project PI: Géraldine DERROIRE (CIRAD, ECOFOG)  / Jérôme CHAVE (EDB, Toulouse)  
2020 - 2022

BADOUARD Vincyane 2022 - 2024. Déterminants de la distribution spatiale des arbres du sous-étage en forêts tropicales. Ecole doctorale : GAIA / Université de Montpellier. Dir : VINCENT Grégoire / Co-dir. : MARCON Eric

BADOURDINE Colette 2019 - 2023. Mapping tropical forest diversity from multi- and hyper-spectral imagery. Ecole doctorale : GAIA / Université de Montpellier. Dir : PELISSIER Raphaël / Co-dir. : VINCENT Grégoire

CLEMENT Jeanne 2021 - 2023. Prédire la vulnérabilité des espèces d’arbres au changement climatique en forêt Guyanaise via l’utilisation de modèles joints de distribution des espèces.". Ecole doctorale : GAIA / Université de Montpellier. Dir : COUTERON Pierre / Co-dir. : VIEILLEDENT Ghislain

EVOUNA ONDO Fidèle 2018 - 2022. Rôle du feu et l'écologie du sol dans l'évolution des savanes au Gabon. Ecole doctorale : GAIA / Université de Montpellier. Dir : COUTERON Pierre

GIRARD-TERCIEUX Camille 2019 - 2022. Rôle de la variabilité intraspécifique dans la coexistence des espèces de la forêt tropicale. Ecole doctorale : GAIA / Université de Montpellier. Dir : PELISSIER Raphaël

KACAMAK Asli-Begum 2020 - 2023. Stratégies écologiques des lianes africaines en milieu stable et perturbé : des modèles bio-inspirants pour la robotique douce.. Ecole doctorale : GAIA / Université de Montpellier. Dir : ROWE Nicholas / Co-dir. : ROSSI Vivien

KREBBER Daniela 2019 - 2022. Comment la biodiversité influence-t-elle la réponse des forêts tropicales aux changements climatiques et aux perturbations anthropiques ?. Ecole doctorale : GAIA / Université de Guyane. Dir : MARCON Eric

PICARD Juliette 2021 - 2024. Dynamique spatio-temporelle des forêts à Marantacées d’Afrique centrale. Ecole doctorale : GAIA / Université de Montpellier. Dir : COUTERON Pierre

PRIEUR Colin 2022 - 2025. Télédétection hyperspectrale pour l’exploitation soutenable des forêts tropicales: quand la modélisation physique rencontre l'apprentissage profond.. Ecole doctorale : GAIA / Université de Montpellier. Dir : VINCENT Grégoire / Co-dir. : CHANUSSOT jocelyn