Photo Credit: Stephen Zozaya

Pamela González del Pliego Castañeda

Land use change is one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss globally, and the pressure on forests to be converted to agriculture keeps increasing in many tropical areas. However, in some areas, secondary tropical forests have begun to regrow as a consequence of land abandonment. This allows the natural recovery of secondary forest and the recuperation of habitat complexity, biodiversity and services. I study how secondary forest complexity (i.e. trees, ferns, bromeliads, leaf litter, etc.) recovers with time in the Tropical Andes following land abandonment. This has significant biological effects since these structures are used as microhabitats (shelter) for a large number of taxa (e.g. insects, amphibians) and provides protection against extreme weather events by buffering the ambient temperatures that exceed species tolerance. I tackle this research theme by combining broad scale biological and habitat surveys with ecophysiological experiments on frogs in the genus Pristimantis.

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