Tropical forest composition and function across space and time: Insights from diverse gradients in Área de Conservación Guanacaste

Catherine M. Hulshof, Jennifer S. Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Environmental gradients have played a pivotal role in the history and development of plant ecology and are useful for testing ecological and evolutionary theory. Área de Conservación Guanacaste is a spatio-temporal mosaic of forests that have evolved continuously across elevation, topography, soil types, succession, and annual and inter-annual climatic change. Studies of plant ecology across diverse gradients of ACG have shaped functional ecology, successional theory, community assembly, plant–herbivore interactions, among many other fields. In this review, we synthesize the, perhaps overlooked, role plant ecological studies of ACG have had on our understanding of tropical forest dynamics. We outline present-day processes that will have major impacts on forest dynamics of ACG in the future and highlight how ACG will continue to shape future research priorities in plant ecology. Abstract in Spanish is available with online material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBiotropica
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Costa Rica
  • climate change
  • conservation
  • ecological theory
  • environmental gradient
  • forest dynamics
  • tropical forest restoration

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