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A bird's-eye view of forest ecosystems

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Forest ecosystems sequester and store 2.4 Pg of carbon from the atmosphere each year, making them an essential component of the terrestrial carbon cycle. In this context, understanding what factors contribute to shaping carbon dynamics in forest ecosystems is key to mitigating climate change and forecasting how forests will function in a warmer world. I argue that the vertical and horizontal structure of forest canopies is a key – although often overlooked – component of the puzzle. Using three case studies as examples, I illustrate how accounting for the processes which give rise to canopy structure can help us better understand forest carbon cycling, and discuss how emerging remote sensing technologies can allow us access to forest canopies.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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