Effects of land-use change on ecological plant traits and strategies in Sumatra, Indonesia

Land use changes in tropical regions often to the loss, modification and fragmentation of habitats and may alter ecosystem functions with the subsequent alterations of global carbon and hydrological cycles, global and regional climate, and decline in biodiversity.

While species richness typically declines with tropical land use change, the impact on ecosystem functioning is less clear. Several studies have shown that the response of ecosystem to a decline in species richness is mediated via functional traits. These traits can be related to different functions such as growth, competition, resource acquisition, and reproduction.

This study focuses on the changes related to composition of ecological traits and strategies in four regionally important land use systems: forest, agroforestry systems locally called jungle rubber, rubber plantations and oil palm plantations distributed across two moisture regimes: upland and riparian sites.

Specifically, the research questions are:
  • How does the composition of ecological traits differ between land use system and sites?
  • How does functional diversity differ between land use systems and sites?
  • What are the relationships between taxonomic diversity and functional diversity related to ecological function?

Therefore, ecologically relevant plant traits data will be collected for all tree species present in the EFForTS core plots from literature sources such as floristic accounts and databases. Examples of traits to be analyzed include: pollination mechanism, dispersal mechanism, flower color, fruit type, fruit size, seed size and seed mass.