Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Caucus temperate rain forest reveals climate history

The Colchic temperate rainforest in Turkey and Georgia receives up to 4 000 millimetres a year of precipitation due to the effect of the Black Sea and the surrounding mountains. However, even under these conditions trees may still be sensitive to drought with long droughts may create greater changes than shorter but intense ones.
Caucus temperate rain forest reveals climate history
The CLIMADYST-RAINFOR (Influence of climate variability on the dynamics and structure of old-growth temperate rainforests) project investigated the different climatic drivers that influence the development of the Colchic temperate rainforest. Combining dendrochronology (the study of tree rings through time), forest inventories and dynamic vegetation modelling researchers identified the long-term effects of past climate variability on these forests.

Dendrochronological samples were collected from trees that were, in some cases, over 350 years old in order to reconstruct past precipitation and temperature variations. Patches of old growth forests were studied to reconstruct their stand dynamics, disturbances, and biomass for the past several centuries.

This project resulted in the most comprehensive dendrochronological and ecological network to date for these forests. The reconstructed data on stand dynamics and disturbances were then compared with model simulations to calibrate and constrain a dynamic forest developmental model.

These new chronologies were used to investigate the climatic responses of different trees species and at several locations across the region. They revealed different responses to precipitation and temperature, which allowed the identification of specific climatic requirements, and explore the effect of future climate change on the forest. They also enabled scientists to reconstruct precipitation and temperature since the 1750s.

The project will give a better understanding of past climatic variability in the Caucus region, and estimate the influence of past and future climates on forest development. The data will also contribute to improving water resource management in the region.

CLIMADYST-RAINFOR provided a long-term perspective on the role of climatic variability as a driver of changes in temperate rainforests. The tools developed will improve understanding of how ecosystem services and biodiversity might be affected by changes in drought dynamics as a result of climate change.

Related information


Colchic temperate rainforest, Black Sea, drought, CLIMADYST-RAINFOR, dendrochronology, climate change, water resource management, forest disturbance, forest dynamics, carbon sequestration, biomass
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