Modeling climate change impacts on tropical forest biodiversity of French Guiana

Funding and duration

Fondation pour la Recherche sur la Biodiversité, 2011-2013


Bruno Hérault, Université des Antilles et de la Guyane


UMR EcoFoG, ONF Guyane, UMR EDB, UMR EEF, DSGE-Université de Liège.

Project abstract

Tropical rainforest ecosystems of French Guiana rank among the rainforests least impacted by landscape fragmentation and degradation, but they are estimated to be among the most vulnerable to climate change. The present project will explore the climate change component of the global change effects on four ecosystem services (Plant species diversity, Plant functional diversity, Carbon storage, Timber production) of French Guianan tropical forests. Currently, no reference map for these four ecosystem services is available in Northern French Guiana, which concentrates 95% of the population of this overseas Region. By integrating meteorological, tree census and functional trait data through novel modeling approaches, we will be able (i) to design such reference maps, (ii) to model the effects of three components of the climate change (water stress, irradiance, temperature) on the four predefined ecosystem services through forest dynamic models (growth, mortality) and (iii) to use the parametrized models of (ii) in order to explore the consequences of a panel of climate change scenarios on ecosystem services. We will then examine the extent to which the current design of protected areas in northern French Guiana is optimal for preserving the diversity of tropical forest ecosystems. We will also explore the climate change consequences on the long-term population viability of timber trees and on the forest carbon storage potential.

By explicitly including climate indicators into the forest dynamic models and by explicitly linking the spatial patterns of ecosystem services to the spatial patterns of climate indicators, our project permit a formal incorporation of biodiversity as a driving factor in the sensitivity of tropical forest ecosystem services to climate change.

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