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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-09-01 - 2020-06-30

Maps of the growth potential for the non-native coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii) are presented for Austria and Germany. For deriving the growth potentials we used an available site-sensitive statistical model which determines productivity as the dominant-height at age 60 (SI60). The model was calibrated using data from 28 Douglas fir stands in Austria and Germany growing on silicate and carbonate bedrock. The model is based on a non-linear relationship between SI60 versus ten climatic as well as soil physical and chemical site parameters at a 1 km x 1 km grid for Austria and Germany. The results revealed that the Northern Alpine foothills in southern Germany are an area with a particularly high growth potential according to the current climatic conditions (mean 1970-2000). We applied two climate change scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5) to assess the future productivity of Douglas fir. The results show that changing growth conditions will have a positive impact on Douglas fir growth at higher altitudes, whereas the productivity may decline in areas where the current growing conditions are dry or highly productive.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-03-01 - 2021-02-28

Accumulating evidence suggests increasing forest mortality across Europe as a consequence of past land use and ongoing climate change. However, the exact rates and trends of forest mortality remain elusive for Europe at the continental scale, mainly due to a scarcity of long-term mortality monitoring and the challenge of harmonizing national forest inventories. We aim at closing this knowledge gap by using long-term satellite records to reconstruct more than three decades of forest mortality across Europe and analyze its agents and patterns at the continental scale. Our specific objectives are to (I) estimate national-level forest mortality rates and trends over the time period 1984 to 2018; to (II) attribute mortality trends to causal agents by integrating remote sensing and social-environmental data into a data-driven attribution approach; and to (III) map forest mortality consistently at a spatial grain of 30 m across Europe, allowing for spatial pattern analysis of past forest mortality events. We build on a rich set of methods and experiences gained during previous work focusing on six countries in Central Europe. Here, we propose to extent our research to cover 32 European countries, four biomes (boreal, temperate, montane and Mediterranean forests), and more than 170 million ha of forests. Moreover, the project will deliver the first continental scale attribution of mortality to causal agents, presenting detailed maps of the causes of forest forest change in Europe. Given the social and ecological importance of forest mortality, the results of the project will be of high relevance for a range of future research, including the study of European carbon stocks and biodiversity, and for developing simulation models accurately predicting changes in forest mortality into the future.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-12-01 - 2022-05-31

The objectives of NOBEL are (i) to develop business models and mechanisms to internalise the socio-economic value of forest ecosystems, (ii) combine public policy tools with business models for implementing payments for forest ecosystem services (FES) at multiple levels of forest management and administration, and (iii) demonstrate and compare alternative approaches for payments in 6 pilot demonstrations in Europe. NOBEL will explore the requirements for disseminating spatial information for the development of business models and innovative policies for the provision of FES. In NOBEL three types of business models will be considered a) private households or businesses companies directly pay providers for the provision of FES , b) Business companies pay providers for the FES and pass the costs to their clients, and b) government pays providers for the FES and pass the costs to consumers via taxes or fees. In implementing these business models, alternative mechanisms for the payments (e.g. voluntary payments, natural capital markets) will be explored. A web-based auctioning platform and a spatial information platform will be developed to support the design of business models. For the prediction and optimization of multiple FES a framework of indicators will be designed and available forest ecosystem models will be applied in pilot demonstrations. Management practices, stakeholder attitudes and consumer behaviour will be discussed at European and regional level with policy makers, providers and beneficiaries. The demands for the provision of FES resulting from existing policies will be identified and the governance settings of successful business models will be analysed.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations