Local community dynamics, ecosystem function, resilience and tipping points
WP3 uses a process-based model of individual forest trees (ForClim) to address the effects of global change on local forest communities and ecosystem functions, at sites throughout Europe.
Identify the ecological properties of a variety of EU forest ecosystems that determine local-scale resilience
Develop a framework coupling SDMs and DVMs (at continental or landscape scales) with a local-scale, process-based forest succession model
We specifically target forests, since they are major elements (>25%) of the European land surface. Forests are major providers of ecosystem services, such as wood production, recreation, and conservation. Tree composition plays a major role in determining communities of animals and understorey plants, by structuring light and moisture regimes and litter decomposition. Tree composition itself is structured by abiotic conditions (microclimate, soil), and inter-specific niche differences. Therefore, the community and ecosystem properties of forests depend on the ecological traits that determine tree species niches and performance. In order to investigate the link between traits and community/ecosystem properties in real forests, we will use the forest succession model ForClim. This model is the ideal tool for this purpose since it accurately predicts local forest dynamics based on traits and niches. We will parameterise ForClim with field measurements of current community composition and forest productivity across the European environmental gradient. Further, we will extend ForClim beyond the field sites using hierarchical integration with the EU-wide SDMs and DVMs (WP1 & 2). DVMs and SDMs will predict changes in the landscape pool of woody plant species throughout the 21st century. ForClim will predict local community composition through the outcome of competitive processes within the species pool.