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Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Forest ecosystem dynamics under climate change: effects of severe disturbance and climate warming

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.01.01  Biotechnical sciences  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Forest - forestry 

Code Science Field
B003  Biomedical sciences  Ecology 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Keywords
Adaptation, climate change, disturbance, ecosystem services, mortality, resilience
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (18)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publications
1.  10801  PhD Andrej Bončina  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  500 
2.  54424  Živa Bončina    Technician  2020  13 
3.  54436  Matteo Cerioni  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2020 - 2022 
4.  11253  PhD Jurij Diaci  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  698 
5.  27615  PhD Andrej Ficko  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2020  143 
6.  34320  PhD Gal Fidej  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  75 
7.  55277  Blaž Fricelj    Technician  2021 - 2022  10 
8.  30165  PhD Tine Hauptman  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2020  198 
9.  02491  PhD Maja Jurc  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  564 
10.  28501  PhD Matija Klopčič  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2019 - 2022  153 
11.  27544  PhD Thomas Andrew Nagel  Biotechnical sciences  Principal Researcher  2019 - 2022  213 
12.  13256  Roman Pavlin  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  86 
13.  55236  Tim Pirc    Technician  2021 - 2022 
14.  25666  PhD Aleš Poljanec  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Technician  2020  223 
15.  24368  PhD Andrej Rozman  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2020  107 
16.  21043  PhD Dušan Roženbergar  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  217 
17.  29888  PhD Rok Šibanc  Pharmacy  Technician  2019 - 2020  62 
18.  52403  Vasilije Trifković    Researcher  2019 - 2020  19 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  64,118 
Abstract
Climate change is expected to cause dramatic alterations to forest ecosystems over the next century. Ongoing climate change influences forests via two contrasting sets of processes, namely, 1) long term and gradual changes in temperature and precipitation and 2) changes in natural disturbance regimes, such as alterations in the frequency and severity of fires, windstorms, insect and pathogen outbreaks, and severe drought. These climate-related drivers in turn cause both slow and fast changes to forest ecosystems. There is widespread concern in the scientific community that the combination of multiple drivers, such as severe disturbance and drought, may exceed the resilience threshold of a given forest system, potential leading to a loss of ecosystem services. The proposed research takes advantage of unique circumstances (i.e. widespread damage from recent severe ice-storm and bark beetle disturbances) and long-term national scale data to examine the influence of both of these climate related drivers at the scale of Slovenia and beyond. Work-package (WP) 1 will monitor forest recovery following large-severe disturbances in dominant forest types as a measure of resilience; WP 2 uses long-term data from permanent plots across old-growth forests in Slovenia, Europe, North America, and globally to examine rates of tree mortality to better understand how climate change may be influencing demography; WP 3 uses national forest inventory data to examine if tree regeneration is tracking changes in climate. Collectively, these three studies will provide key insight into the ongoing effects of climate change on forest ecosystems, and strengthen collaboration among three research labs at the department of forestry, University of Ljubljana, as well as with other international collaborators.
Significance for science
The proposed project will document early warning signs of climate change in temperate forests of Europe. The project will examine both fast (disturbance) and slow (climate) drivers of climate change, two fundamental processes that will alter forest ecosystems under climate change. There is growing interest and debate with regard to how a warmer and drought prone climate will alter forest recovery following large-scale disturbances. This project will provide timely empirical results from two dominant forest types in Europe. The international collaboration within the project will also provide new insight into drivers and rates of tree mortality across temperate forests and the globe. Understanding this fundamental process is critical for assessing forest resilience under climate change, and the role of forests in the global carbon cycle. The data compiled in the project will form part of a much larger database to ultimately help create updated mortality functions for global scale terrestrial vegetation models. Finally, the project will yield evidence if tree regeneration is tracking changes in climate, a process that models predict, but which still requires empirical support. Understanding the basic processes described above is a critical step toward designing future management guidelines that will ensure continued provisioning of ecosystems services to society. For example, if we find that forest recovery after large disturbances is too slow or negatively effected by drought or other biotic processes, management plans could be designed to help facilitate recovery, which might include planting more drought adapted trees or increasing species diversity to make new forests more resistant and resilient to future climate change. Likewise, if we find evidence that forest regeneration is not tracking the climate, silvicultural measures could be performed to assist species movement and ease competition. We expect to publish several papers in high-ranking international journals for each of the project workpackages to disseminate the results of the project.
Significance for the country
The proposed project will document early warning signs of climate change in temperate forests of Europe. The project will examine both fast (disturbance) and slow (climate) drivers of climate change, two fundamental processes that will alter forest ecosystems under climate change. There is growing interest and debate with regard to how a warmer and drought prone climate will alter forest recovery following large-scale disturbances. This project will provide timely empirical results from two dominant forest types in Europe. The international collaboration within the project will also provide new insight into drivers and rates of tree mortality across temperate forests and the globe. Understanding this fundamental process is critical for assessing forest resilience under climate change, and the role of forests in the global carbon cycle. The data compiled in the project will form part of a much larger database to ultimately help create updated mortality functions for global scale terrestrial vegetation models. Finally, the project will yield evidence if tree regeneration is tracking changes in climate, a process that models predict, but which still requires empirical support. Understanding the basic processes described above is a critical step toward designing future management guidelines that will ensure continued provisioning of ecosystems services to society. For example, if we find that forest recovery after large disturbances is too slow or negatively effected by drought or other biotic processes, management plans could be designed to help facilitate recovery, which might include planting more drought adapted trees or increasing species diversity to make new forests more resistant and resilient to future climate change. Likewise, if we find evidence that forest regeneration is not tracking the climate, silvicultural measures could be performed to assist species movement and ease competition. We expect to publish several papers in high-ranking international journals for each of the project workpackages to disseminate the results of the project.
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