Using the radiative-transfer SCOPE model to predict the vulnerability of tropical forests to changing climate

Kelvin Tuazon Acebron*, Sean M. McMahon, Maquelle Neves Garcia, Charles D. Southwick, Emmelia J. Braun, Matteo Detto, Vicente Vasquez, E. Prikaziuk, C. van der Tol, Loren Albert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic

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Tropical forests, as the largest terrestrial carbon sink and a hub for biodiversity, are crucial in predicting the course of climate change. However, the response of these forests to changing climate varies across space and time, affecting demographic species composition and vulnerability. Species-specific strategies and environmental heterogeneity contribute to these differences, making it challenging to model the relationship between species, strategies, climate, and carbon cycling across diverse tropical forests.
We used the Soil-Canopy Observation, Photochemistry, and Energy (SCOPE) model to investigate the temporal dynamics of photosynthesis, transpiration, and energy fluxes of plant functional types based on data of selected tree species on Barro Colorado Island (BCI) in Panama. For model inputs, we collected leaf traits such as leaf pigments (total chlorophylls (Chla+b), carotenoids and anthocyanin), maximum carboxylation efficiency (Vcmax), leaf mass per area (LMA) and dry matter content. Furthermore, we used five years of meteorological data from BCI to extend the temporal scope of our simulations. Our simulations revealed seasonal variation in water and light-use efficiencies, emphasizing the importance of studying resource strategies of tree species to predict tropical forests’ response to climate change.
The SCOPE model output is a promising tool for interpreting global patterns of optical signals in pantropical forests, inferring changes in ecosystem functions, and predicting the impact of climate change on these forests at a global scale. Our study provides insights into establishing causal models and identifying leaf-to-landscape predictors for the vulnerability of tropical forests under temperature and vapor pressure deficit stress. As a next step, we aim to use species-specific model configuration and link the results of simulation with the ForestGEO inventory plot to estimate carbon fluxes at larger scales. This will enable us to better understand the complex interplay between species composition and demography as a response to drought stress.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2023
EventNASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystem Joint Science Workshop 2023 - College Park, United States
Duration: 8 May 202312 May 2023


WorkshopNASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystem Joint Science Workshop 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCollege Park
Internet address


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