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Resilience of tropical forest and savanna: bridging theory and observation
Group: Wageningen University, Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Promotor: Prof.dr. Marten Scheffer
Co-promotor: Dr. Egbert H. van Nes and prof.dr. Stefan C. Dekker (UU and OU)
This dissertation explores mechanisms behind, and possible effects of, the possibility that tropical forest and savanna can be alternative ecosystem states. I studied tree-cover feedbacks with fire and with rainfall in the Amazon basin and other tropical regions. I conclude that tree cover will not change smoothly with climate change and that possible transitions between forest and savanna will likely be relatively abrupt and hard to revert. The main mechanism behind such tipping points is a feedback between tree cover and fire. Increasing rainfall seasonality will strengthen that feedback and in the Amazon, reduced tree transpiration resulting from tree-cover loss will enhance seasonality.
By September we will present an overview of SENSE dissertations on this page, with links to the full texts of the dissertations.