Hi! I’ m Paul, a plant ecologist, and data enthusiast. This post is the first step in my own adventure at the Plant Functional Traits Course 3. I graduated in Biology at the University of San Antonio Abad at Cusco, Peru. During the last years, I have collaborated with the ABERG group on different projects that were carried out along the elevation transect in Manu National Park and surroundings. I participated in projects that evaluated carbon and forest dynamics, traits ecology, and recently Andean bears ecology. I got introduced to the importance of functional traits during the CHAMBASA project and this topic really captured my interest. I would like to focus my research line on how plants will change their traits as a response to the variation in environmental factors consequence of climate change.
My aim for the course is to consolidate, improve and clarify the concepts that I learned through the last years when I worked collecting data on functional traits. I also would like to learn how to interpret these data and communicate the findings. It would be especially interesting being able to prepare a paper at the end of the course based on my results.
Being part of the course is an amazing opportunity for me; I am really excited about learning from important researchers in this area and to share the experience with international graduate students who are also working on these topics. Knowing that is enough motivation for being part of this course.
Recently, a high-ranked official from an environmental institution in Cusco said a controverted statement: “Current abnormal climatic conditions are only atypical events, and the concept of climate change is not applicable». Maybe that statement reflects the perception of a large proportion of the Peruvian society who is reluctant to accept that current environmental conditions are the result of our collective actions over the environment. It is possible that people have this idea because of the limited access to scientific information; it is difficult to find spaces to talk and share ideas about climate change. On the other hand, it is also possible that people are conscious about the reality of climate change, but they prefer to ignore it in order to protect their interests.
Peru is one of the most biodiverse places in the world but also one of the most exposed to the effects of climate change. The current opinion of Peruvian society regarding climate change is complicated because they are expecting development and economic expansion (expansion of crops, gold mining, etc), which usually opposes conservation and climate-smart actions.