GERICS Colloquium April 20

How predictable is the future of forested ecosystems in a changing climate?

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schuldt - Julius-von-Sachs-Institute of Biological Sciences, Chair of Ecophysiology and Vegetation Ecology, University of Würzburg


For more than 20 years, tree mortality events have been increasingly documented worldwide following global change-type drought events occurring at high temperatures. Following the extreme 2018/19 drought, we are regionally also observing severe signs of drought stress among the most ecologically and economically important tree species. While the vulnerability of certain species such as Norway spruce was anticipated, the high mortality rates of others, such as European beech and Scots pine, were unexpected. This highlights the need for an improved understanding of the mechanisms at play during drought-induced tree mortality, which is paramount for predictions of the development of forests under a changing climate. I will present the most recent advances in the understanding of the ecophysiology of tree drought responses, and underline how this knowledge can improve predictions of trait-based vegetation models.

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