Title: Leveraging trait-based ecology and ecosystem models to predict forest responses to climate change
Abstract: Climate change has the potential to massively disrupt terrestrial ecosystem productivity, impacting biodiversity and ecosystem services, and driving Earth’s forests to release carbon into the atmosphere, which would further exacerbate climate change. Critically, the physiological mechanisms underpinning forest responses to climate are not fully understood due to complex interactions between climate, tree physiology, and community ecology. Drawing on physiological understanding, diverse temporal and spatial observational datasets, and numerical vegetation models, I will demonstrate how the interactions between plant traits and environment explain observed landscape-level responses to climate change, and highlight new insights into physiological mechanisms governing forest responses to disturbances such as drought. I will conclude by discussing how this integrative cross-scale approach advances predictions for terrestrial ecosystem structure, function, and biogeochemistry with anthropogenic climate change.