The aim of the project is to assess the sensitivity of tree-growth to climate change in mountain and Mediterranean forests both in its past variability and in the future, as predicted by climate models for a CO2 doubling scenario. This will provide a basis for assessing environmental and socio-economic impacts of different tree-growth potentials and for allowing the development of strategies for sustainability in future forest management.
Around the structure of a data base, the project will build a network of tree-ring and meteorological data covering, with the highest possible density, three target areas representative of mountain and western Mediterranean forests. All available ring-width chronologies which are presently sparse at the different partners will be at first actualised and introduced in the data base. Besides, a large effort of sampling will be done to strengthen the chronology network in order to obtain a spatial grid dense enough to master the spatial variability of climate-environment complex and representative of the main conifer species. Moreover, to approach at best biomass production the intraannual variations in wood anatomy will be taken into account using densitometric analysis.
In order to obtain a global representation of coniferous forest diversity, core sampling will be mapped at the forest level using remote sensing and GIS techniques.
All tree ring chronologies (ring-width or densitometric values) will be treated in the same way. Statistical models of tree ring to climate relationships will be established using improved methods and new statistical developments.
The first objective will be to analyse the spatiotemporal patterns of tree growth at present and in the past in order to isolate at best the climatic signal in tree-ring chronologies.
The second objective will be to establish, for the whole tree populations, models of tree-growth to climate relationships.
Finally, model responses of tree-growth to climate will be coupled with regionalised outputs of GCM simulations to predict, in the hypothesis of a climatic change associated with a CO2 doubling, the growth response of the different tree species in various ecological situations. This predicted effect will be compared to the past natural variability in the tree-ring series. On the basis of the spatialisation carried out on present forest stands, the potential impact of climate change on tree-growth in southern Europe will be mapped.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
35020 Legnaro (Pd)