Florian Hofhansl

Tropical Ecosystem Research

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Upcoming below-ground field-campaign

We have still limited understanding of the mechanisms that shape the immense functional diversity and species richness of plants in tropical ecosystems. Such knowledge gaps hinder our ability to evaluate the impact that deforestation and soil degradation may have on forest regeneration and soil conservation. Our goal in this study is to highlight the importance of belowground processes in maintaining crucial ecosystem functions by investigating relationships among evolutionary phylogeny, morphological and physiological root traits and mycorrhizal associations in relation to soil nutrient availability in an integrated framework.


We aim to create the first curated collection of fine roots from tropical systems that will be accessible via an online library to the scientific community as well as to the general public. We therefore expect that this investigation will fill an important gap in root ecology by providing invaluable information about (1) how tropical trees are able to maintain efficient nutrient acquisition, (2) root functional traits present in tropical areas, and (3) resulting implications for management of forest regeneration and soil degradation under future scenarios.

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ClimMani Workshop 9-11 October 2017

Global change effects on terrestrial ecosystems across spatial and temporal scales: gradients, experiments, remote sensing & models

It has been a very informative and interesting conference meeting including exciting excursions, hosted at the conference center Kaap Doorn, Doorn, the Netherlands


Rien Aerts describing the ecology of the peat swamp and showing Sphagnum specimens to the audience (while keeping his feet above the water line).

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CEBA thematic school 25-29. Sept. 2017

Remote sensing for tropical biodiversity mapping and management across scales

It has been an incredibly interesting and informative workshop including excellent discussions and exciting excursions to the Centre Spatial Guyanais (including an Ariane 5 rocket launch) and Paracou field station (sighting of a Jaguar!)


􀀁 David Coomes, University of Cambridge, UK

􀀁 Mathias Disney, University College London, UK

􀀁 Maria Joao Ferreira dos Santos, Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands

􀀁 Jean-Baptiste Féret, IRSTEA, Montpellier France

􀀁 Sassan Saatchi, NASA JPL Pasadena, USA


Jérôme Chave (CNRS, Toulouse France)

Grégoire Vincent (IRD Montpellier France)

Dates: 25-29 September 2017

Venue: Hotel des Roches Kourou, French Guiana

Link: http://www.labex-ceba.fr/en/labex-ceba-thematic-school-2017-teledection-and-biodiversity/

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Launch of the Ariane 5 rocket

During the extremely informative and successful CEBA thematic school in Kourou, French Guiana CNES has launched an Ariane 5 rocket on Flight VA239 being the ninth launch in 2017. Conducted from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone the successful mission delivered an estimated payload lift performance of 10,838 kg to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).

The mission carried Intelsat 37e for global operator Intelsat; along with BSAT-4a, which was launched as part of a turnkey contract between Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) and U.S.-based satellite manufacturer SSL. Intelsat 37e was deployed first in the flight sequence, separating from Ariane 5 at 29 minutes after liftoff, followed approximately 18 minutes later by BSAT-4a.

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My colleague Bea Maas kindly presented this year’s contribution “Landscape-scale controls on aboveground forest carbon stocks along environmental gradients on the Osa peninsula, Costa Rica”

Albeit the fact that tropical forests store large amounts of carbon (C) in aboveground tree biomass, the mechanistic controls on forest C stocks remain poorly resolved at the landscape-scale. Here, we aim at unraveling the mechanistic links between environmental controls such as edaphic factors (i.e. geology, soil type, topographic position) and climatic drivers (i.e. temperature, precipitation), and demographic parameters (species composition and vegetation structure).

Our results indicate that by accounting for species diversity and vegetation structure, both associated to environmental gradients and thus shaped by geographic region and forest type, current uncertainty in estimates of tropical aboveground C stocks across the landscape-scale could be greatly reduced. We conclude that resolving spatial patterns of tree species composition and vegetation structure associated with landscape-scale gradients of environmental controls will be crucial to create a mechanistic understanding of how these factors shape the distribution of aboveground C stocks and will be key to more accurately predict the C sequestration potential of tropical forests under scenarios of projected environmental changes.

Link: https://www.atbc2017.org

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Amazonas-Regenwald: Welche Blüten der Klimawandel treibt

Download von http://www.picturedesk.com am 30.05.2017 (15:32).
View from the ATTO tower at the ATTO research center in the rain forest in Manaus, Brazil, 7 November 2016. PHOTO: GEORG ISMAR/dpa – 20161107_PD13343

Der Klimawandel macht auch vor dem Amazonas-Regenwald nicht halt. Ein internationales Forscherteam ergründet nun, wie seine Bäume darauf reagieren Manaus/Wien – (derstandard.at›WissenschaftForschung Spezial, Text von Bernadette Strohmaier, 12.6.2017)


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TLS comparing vegetation structure along topographic gradients

Recently we have been investigating species composition and vegetation structure in 20 one-hectare plots established along edaphic and topographic gradients across the OSA peninsula, Costa Rica comparing plot-based field measurements with data derived from terrestrial laser scanning (TLS). Check out some scans right here: