Plant functional traits and functional diversity across four land-use systems in Sumatra, Indonesia

The aim of this Master’s dissertation is to derive a better understanding of the effects of land use transformation on the functional diversity of tropical rainforests. To achieve this aim, functional traits of trees, the main structural components of rainforests and plantations, will be assessed in four land use systems of the tropical lowlands of Sumatra, Indonesia: logged-over primary forest, jungle rubber agroforestry, rubber plantations, and oil palm plantations. The study will focus on functional traits related to the leaf- and wood-economics of the trees measured on-site in tree inventory plots. It will partly rely on available data and will create new data from the processing of leaf image scans with the software WinFOLIA.

Specifically, the following research questions will be addressed:
  • How do tree traits related to leaf and wood economics vary between different land use systems?
  • Are there differences in functional diversity between different land uses?
  • What is the relationship between functional and taxonomic diversity?