The FunDivEUROPE project

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Biodiversity research of the last 15 years could demonstrate that multiple functions and services of an ecosystem are influenced by the number of species within this system. Most of these findings, however, are based on research within grassland systems. So science has to make the next big step and address those ecosystems that control a good portion of the carbon, nutrient and water balances of the earth: the forests.
 

Within this project that started in October 2010, scientists from 24 institutions spread across 15 countries are quantifying the influence of biodiversity on forest ecosystem functions and services. To achieve this, FunDivEUROPE is following different approaches:
 

Firstly, the project will work at the European sites of a global network of tree diversity experiments, established within the last ten years. Here, new little forests have been planted with 1, 2, 4, or 8 tree species, while keeping environmental variables as constant as possible. In this way, causal relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functions can be derived.

 

 

 

Secondly, the project will use a newly designed network of comparative plots in existing mature forests. These are 250 plots in six European regions that differ in their tree species richness and composition representing important European forest types along the gradient from boreal forest to mediterranean forest.

 

 

 

Third, we will compile existing information from national forest inventories and other forest monitoring networks, in order to extract potential diversity signals in processes, such as forest growth, mortality and regeneration. Using modelling and state-of-the-art techniques for quantitative synthesis, the project will also integrate information gained from the different platforms to assess the performance of pure and mixed species stands under changing climate.

 

 

 

In addition to these three research “platforms”, FunDivEUROPE will set up a web-based knowledge transfer platform in order to foster communication, aggregation and synthesis of individual findings and communication with stakeholders, policy makers and the wider public. The information gained should enable forest owners, forest managers and forest policy makers to adapt policies and management for the sustainable use of forest ecosystems in a changing environment, capitalizing on the potential effects of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning.
 

Michael Scherer-Lorenzen - The FunDivEUROPE project

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