Recent changes of forest growth and of site conditions reported for many European forests emphasize the necessity for investigation of the interrelationships between forest growth, stand nutrition and site fertility. The main objective of the proposed research project is to identify and quantify the relationships between recent changes in forest growth, stand nutrition and environmental changes including those of site fertility on the European level. This activity is directly relevant to the research tasks of the FAIR Work Programme item 4.5.2 "The functioning of the forestry ecosystem".
The specific objectives of the project are:
- to identify potential causes of recent growth trends in European forests and to investigate their interactions with focus on the relative importance of nutrients (primarily nitrogen and CO2), climate (primarily temperature and precipitation), and land-use changes;
- to focus on growth analyses on selected sites where conditions and availability of historical data allow the testing of specific hypotheses about causes of changes in site productivity;
- to analyze the long-term consequences and risks of observed changes for sustainability and to assess the implications of future management strategies.
Two primary approaches have been chosen in order to analyze the problem: a multivariate, correlative approach, and a mechanistic, modelling approach. With the first approach, local and regional relations between tree growth, climate, stand nutrition and site fertility will be looked for. The mechanistic modelling approach will allow the verification of relationships found with the correlative approach, as well as to analyze the relative importance of the major factors affecting tree growth. An important task will be to quantify the changes in productivity in relation to the strength of the determining factors. Scenario analyses of possible future changes in site productivity and forest stability under changed climatic and deposition conditions are another important field of activity.
Finally, the sustainable nature of the increases of tree productivity is a major issue, also when performing risk analyses. The correlative and modelling approaches will be also combined in order to validate and to further improve the different models. The team of researchers consisting of 22 partners and associated partners throughout Europe assembled for this task includes leading European experts on the use of correlation approaches in site productivity and nutrition work, and leading experts in the development and use of ecophysiological models in forestry. Many participants of the current team have recently worked together in a directly relevant study on changes in forest growth.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
613 00 Brno