We propose to develop an individual-based simulator for Amazon forest dynamics, which will be highly constraint with existing field data covering the whole basin for the last twenty years. Findings from the RAINFOR forest plot network include an East-West gradient in turnover times across the basin and an above-ground biomass trend. The latter finding has important consequences for the global carbon budget and thus greenhouse gas forcing. Specifically based on the plant functional traits section of the database, we will use the observed trait distribution to generate continua which will define the economy of the primary resources available for growth, and control the performance and fitness of each individual. The floristic composition and dynamics part of the database will be used to parameterise and validate the performance of the model, across different soil and climate gradients. The simulator will subsequently be used to explore existing hypotheses regarding the mechanism driving the spatial and temporal variation of the Amazon rainforest. Ultimately besides hypothesis testing we will also use the simulator to explore sensitivity of the system to a changing climate.
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