Traits at the forest-climate-disturbance nexus

Climate-induced natural disturbances will be studied in a functional perspective to improve our understanding of the ecological feedback at the forest-climate-disturbance nexus. Management alternatives will be explored to improve forest resilience to disturbances.

The ability of forests to resist to and recover from natural disturbances depends on the ability of plant communities to respond to their environment and use available resources. This ability is quantified by species functional-traits.

Despite the intimate link between species functional-traits and ecosystem resilience to steadily-increasing, climate-induced disturbances, none of those components is well represented in decision making tools informing European forest management.

This study proposes to develop a state-of-the-art disturbance module for the European resource modelling tool EFISCEN-space. The module will include key functional traits driving ecosystem functioning into forest responses to disturbance regimes.

Incorporating functional-traits into the assessment of disturbance impacts on European forests will allow to test alternative management practices for increasing the resilience of EU forests, and related value-chains, to climate-induced disturbances.