Alex Elsy

Traits, lianas, and functional diversity –

Secondary rainforests in Panama

Secondary forests are increasingly becoming the norm across large areas of the tropics. These forests are incredibly valuable for biodiversity and ecosystem function, and thus far much research has been focused on how secondary forests grow and recover from previous land uses over the early stages of succession. However, far fewer studies have examined how forest communities continue to change in mid-to-late succession. My research aims to address this gap by investigating community and functional composition changes, in both liana and tree communities, across a secondary forest chronosequence (40 – 120 years old) in the Barro Colorado Nature Monument, Central Panama. This research will further understanding on how long late-successional forest communities take to recover to old growth levels and will add to the small body of literature around liana communities in late succession. Network analyses will help to unpick relationships between tree and liana communities and aid us in understanding liana colonisation preferences.