There are two main objectives for our four day Euro workshop: - To enable young and established researchers working on functional groups of tropical forests to share their expertise and to synthesise, compare and discuss the different concepts and approaches used. - To agree and to define a general framework for the study of functional groups in tropical forests and to determine the way forward in terms of research priorities. One of the main features of tropical forests is the high tree species diversity. In order to understand the functioning of these complex ecosystems, there is an internationally recognised need to simplify species diversity by grouping trees according to their role in the forest dynamics. A clearer understanding of tropical forest dynamics is necessary for a wide range of management and policy issues including biodiversity, conservation, global change, and poverty alleviation. It is necessary to 'understand' forests in order to manage them for the benefit of all.
The workshop is intended for European researchers working on tropical forests from different research areas including botanists, forest ecologists, plant physiologists, biologists, conservationists.
The four-day workshop will comprise one day of presentations (reviews papers), two of interactive discussions and a final day of visit to the institutes of the Edinburgh Centre for Tropical Forest (ECTF).
The scientific objectives of this workshop are therefore: - To define the different potential objectives of functional groupings; - To identify the most suitable traits for each objective; - To assess the availability of data linked to these traits; - To look for a possible link between all traits identified to be important; - To agree on field experimentation to test the adequacy of such groups; - To publish a review of the functional groups in tropical forests and a synthesis.