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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.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-10-01 - 2021-07-31

A lack of forest site information in Styria asks for a new approach to forest site classification and mapping. Another challenge is the consideration of changing climatic conditions, which will affect the classification of forest sites and the choice of tree species. Theoretical concepts for a new approach in "dynamic site classification" exist, but the implementation of an integrated site and forest classification in for the whole forest area in Styria is a scientific challenge. In this project the forest site classification will be based on a GIS-based geo-ecological stratification model. The database will be based on a digital elevation model, a geological base map, digitally available site and climate data as well as empirical site parameters. A map of forest types will be derived based on several thematic maps, including information about energy, water and nutrient balance. Those parameters will be modeled on the basis of point and area related data, which are then combined into forest types with a uniform combination of factors. The model allows a stratification of the forest types on all sites based on digital geo-ecological parameters (including height about sea level, slope, substrate, terrain, slope). Each forest type is represented on the forest type map at a scale of 1: 25,000. In addition to the ecological facts, each forest type is characterized by a description of silvicultural guidelines containing information on the appropriate choice of tree species, potential hazards and adaptation methods. There guidelines will also describe previous experiences with the tree species and their mixtures, and will provide recommendations for the future forest management with regard to climate change.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations