|Title||Resilience of Amazon forests emerges from plant trait diversity|
|Author(s)||Sakschewski, Boris; Bloh, Werner Von; Boit, Alice; Poorter, Lourens; Peña-Claros, Marielos; Heinke, Jens; Joshi, Jasmin; Thonicke, Kirsten|
|Source||Nature Climate Change 6 (2016)11. - ISSN 1758-678X - p. 1032 - 1036.|
Forest Ecology and Forest Management
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
Climate change threatens ecosystems worldwide, yet their potential future resilience remains largely unquantified. In recent years many studies have shown that biodiversity, and in particular functional diversity, can enhance ecosystem resilience by providing a higher response diversity. So far these insights have been mostly neglected in large-scale projections of ecosystem responses to climate change. Here we show that plant trait diversity, as a key component of functional diversity, can have a strikingly positive effect on the Amazon forests' biomass under future climate change. Using a terrestrial biogeochemical model that simulates diverse forest communities on the basis of individual tree growth, we show that plant trait diversity may enable the Amazon forests to adjust to new climate conditions via a process of ecological sorting, protecting the Amazon's carbon sink function. Therefore, plant trait diversity, and biodiversity in general, should be considered in large-scale ecosystem projections and be included as an integral part of climate change research and policy.