Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EXTREME (Do extreme climatic events facilitate plant invasions?)
Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2018-03-31
Our project on climate-vegetation feedbacks in African grasslands and savannas shows that these systems provide important benefits for climate regulation that are often overlooked, but could have large implications for successful climate change mitigation. These include their radiative properties, high infiltration rates and high soil carbon pools, among others. Current climate change mitigation policies have a strong focus on tree planting and large afforestation programs are currently unrolled over Africa. We draw parallels between the tundra biome and these tropical grassy biomes to argue that afforesting grasslands will not reduce global warming. Moreover, it would have devastating effects on biodiversity and counteract mitigation efforts. We discuss the different climate benefits of tropical grassy biomes and why we need to consider their importance for climate change mitigation, not only in terms of biogeochemical feedbacks (i.e. carbon storage), but also in terms of biophysical feedbacks (i.e. hydrological processes, longwave radiation), taking into consideration fire and herbivory as important and essential drivers of these systems.
The final results of these projects will contribute to Europe’s knowledge-based society by providing important knowledge on climate change and invasive species that is of the highest priority in the EU.