Testing the importance of large-scale climate factors to plant community assembly following land-use change. (2012–2014)
Australia's rain forests cross extreme rainfall and productivity gradients, and are an excellent system in which to study human impacted ecosystems across environments. Using Australia's rain forest communities, we will test the importance of three large-scale factors for directing plant community assembly following disturbance. This will involve a novel test of the importance of climate, species pool size and disturbance type to determining the species and functional diversity of recently assembled plant communities. Results will advance community assembly theory and will be valuable in prioritizing which landscapes should be protected to maximize species diversity and ecosystem function conservation in Australia and abroad.