The state-of-knowledge on the mechanisms driving mortality in moist tropical forests

Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests seminar followed by drinks – all welcome, booking required

Tree mortality is rising in the tropics and throughout the globe, with implications on the carbon cycle and climate forcing. However, we do not yet understand the causes of this rising mortality, precluding us from mechanistic prediction under future climate. In this presentation Nate will review our state-of-the-knowledge regarding the drivers and mechanisms of tree mortality with a focus on the tropics, while also extending our inference to the globe. Changes in atmospheric conditions such as rising CO2, temperature, and VPD are plausible explanations for the global mortality rise. Mitigation mechanisms exist by which mortality may be buffered by increasing growth, but the number of mortality drivers outweighs those driving increased growth, casting doubt on the strength of the future forest carbon sink. The path forward to better understanding and simulation is highlighted.

Nate McDowell received his BSc at the University of Michigan, MSc at the University of Idaho, and PhD at Oregon State University. He worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 14 years and is now a staff scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Nate studies the carbon and water balance of plants and their impacts on plant growth and survival.