Drought recovery mechanisms in a tropical forest

Durée : 2019 - 2021
Programme : LabEx CEBA (ANR)
Portée : Nationale

Climate change is predicted to increase drought in tropical forests, with important consequences for global carbon dynamics and biodiversity. Recent work has elucidated traits that maintain plant function and limit damage during drought, but also shown that many trees survive drought but undergo years of reduced growth and heightened mortality rates, even though conditions are favorable again. Here we are proposing to conduct the first study to link the mechanisms underlying recovery in plant physiological function to species differences in growth and mortality rates following a severe drought. We will use census data from the Paracou research site to identify species that varied strongly in mortality after the exceptionally severe 2008 drought, and assess these species for their ability to recover function (i.e., embolism resistance and water transport) in their leaves and stems. We will then evaluate correlations between these recovery traits and the traits underlying other drought resistance strategies, as well as species growth and survival rates in the decade following the 2008 drought. This research will advance our understanding of the physiological mechanisms that drive plant recovery from drought, and potentially improve our predictions for the impacts of global change on the carbon dynamics and community assembly of Amazonian forests.


  • University of California, Davis
  • Ulm University
  • California State University, Los Angeles