Tropical forest resilience to drought

Fig from Powell_et_al-2018 hydroclimate variation sustains functional diversity and tropical forest biomassPostdoc Tom Powell just published a terrific new paper in New Phytologist! He used the ED2 vegetation demographic model to show how hydroclimate variability contributes to tropical forest functional diversity, which in turn makes forest biomass resilient to many drought scenarios. This is exciting work for a number of reasons: 1) Tom developed model parameterizations that allow coexistence of tree functional types competing for both light and water in a tropical forest, 2) the modeled forest structure and dynamics meet benchmarks collected over many years at Barro Colorado Island, Panama, and 3) the predictions suggest that compensation by co-occurring trees can buffer drought impacts on aboveground biomass — except if the dry seasons become much drier.