At high northern latitudes extreme winter cold, or rapid fluctuations of temperatures above and below freezing, can cause damage and death of perennial agricultural/silvicultural crops, and plants within unmanaged ('natural') ecosystems. Winter damage can also operate indirectly via microbial pathogens and/or insect pests, and can have knock-on effects on vertebrate herbivores. The prospect of anthropogenic climate change - with warming of greater magnitude during the winter than the summer, and increased frequency and intensity of climatic extremes - has increased the focus on the effects of variation in winter climate. A seminar held in Iceland in May 2000 highlighted (i) the differences between research approaches used for managed and natural systems, and (ii) the very limited exchange of information between the research communities. Basically, agricultural and forestry scientists have an in-depth knowledge of the genetic, physiological, biochemical and phenological mechanisms by which crop monocultures respond to climate change. In contrast, researchers on natural systems have greater understanding of the phenology, growth and reproduction of a much wider range of plant species under field conditions, but relatively little understanding of the detailed mechanisms controlling responses. Thus the two research communities have markedly different, but complementary, expertise.
Euro Workshop objectives & format: The workshop is designed to bring together researchers from managed and natural systems to:
- Summarise/compare understanding of the direct and indirect mechanisms/processes of winter damage in managed and natural systems in northern regions;
- relate this understanding to assessment of system and regional variations in the potential responses to winter climate change;
- promote comparative experiments and observations to clarify/quantify variations in responses to winter climate change;
- expose young Researchers (YRs) to the national and disciplinary variations in research approaches and to provide training in international assessment, communication and proposal writing.
The workshop will combine introductory lectures from different viewpoints, followed by discussion and 'break-out' sessions to summarise findings and outline proposals. The main Workshop will be held over 4 days with the final day devoted to writing by key reporters. A 3-day extension will involve the YRs in further training consisting of a field visit, proposal writing and teleconferencing (details below).