Climate change-land use change (CC-LUC) impacts on tropical biomes

Climate change (CC) and land use change (LUC) are identified as two major threat to the world’s ecosystem. However, there is a significant knowledge gap on the impact of CC-LUC interactions on landscapes composed of multiple biomes (e.g., forest and savanna). Such knowledge is critical to designing effective conservation strategies for many tropical landscapes. In this project, we seek to understand how distinct West Africa vegetation types (forest, thicket, savanna, and grasslands) are responding to recent CC-LUC interactions. Here, we will perform three interlinked tasks aimed at elucidating 1) the changes that have already occurred and the trajectories of change for different vegetation types, and 2) the main CC-LUC mechanisms driving these trajectories, and 3) explore the relative importance of changes in climate (rainfall, temperature) and disturbance factors (herbivory, fire, flooding, etc) in explaining shifts in species composition and functional traits. These analyses will yield greater insights into the specificity of the different vegetation types to the impacts of CC-LUC interactions. The output of this study will also contribute to formulating a framework for understanding the future vegetation dynamics of tropical landscapes composed of multiple biomes to CC-LUC interactions.

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