Human land-use activities such as forest cutting and agricultural expansion contribute significantly to atmospheric changes that are expected to cause climatic changes. Reforestation of previously forested lands provides a straightforward means of mitigating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, particularly in the warm, wet tropics. Utilizing an experiment that was established in 1988, I will address a sequence of questions relating to the potential for and difficulties with utilizing planted forests to regenerate ecosystem services on former pasturelands in lowland Costa Rica. An over-arching goal is to understand the influence of tree species identity on ecosystem processes in a naturally species-rich biome – lowland tropical rainforest. I will first discuss biomass production and carbon cycling, including the potential of young forests to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide, and variations through time and among species. Comparison of young with mature forests provides a means of identifying their underlying differences. I then evaluate the potential for nutrient limitation to suppress forest growth and productivity, finding rather that nitrogen cycling rates are as rapid as recorded from any forest, anywhere.?
Host: Professor Knute Nadelhoffer
Coffee and cookies will be served at 4 p.m.