Experts have challenged the principle that tropical ecosystems are aseasonal — after discovering regular cycles in fruiting, flowering and leafing in such climates.
Researchers from the University of Stirling made the unexpected observations after studying 30 years of data from 851 tropical trees in the Lopé National Park in Gabon, Central Africa.
The team — led by Stirling PhD researcher Emma Bush — also uncovered the reasons behind inaccuracies in previous monitoring of tropical tree behaviour and made recommendations to enhance future approaches. This will improve monitoring and, in turn, the data that is available for organisations that manage tropical ecosystems and their products, which support livelihoods and the survival of wildlife.
The research is published in a special section of the Biotropica journal, guest edited by Dr Katharine Abernethy, Reader in Tropical Ecology in Stirling’s Faculty of Natural Sciences.