Project in the picture

Bloom and buzz - Deciphering the interactions between trees and climate on forest ecosystem processes

Interactions between macroclimate and forest tree canopies drive many of the ecosystem processes which dictate the development of understorey species distributions, and the related ecosystem services.


Despite the importance of these interactions, current knowledge is insufficient to allow managers and policy makers to accurately project the combined implications of tree species composition and climate for understorey communities, and the potential for refugia and dispersal barriers, as well as phenology mismatches, to develop under alternative future climates. By teasing out these drivers, processes, and their implications for understorey ecosystem services, our project will fill a knowledge gap vital to understanding two of the prime determinants of global change; a changing climate and changing land-use.


To fill these knowledge gaps we use a trans-European network of climate observation sites set in forest understories to establish cameras and traps for surveillance of plants and pollinators, and translocate plants adapted to colder climates. These sites enable us to exchange space for time by replicating along a macroclimatic gradient from Belgium to northern Sweden, varying over 10°C in mean annual temperature. This climate gradient, in combination with varying forest density and tree species composition, will enable us to decipher the interactions and processes operating among microclimate, vegetation, and plant as well as pollinator phenology.


The project is coordinated by associate professor Per-Ola Hedwall (per-ola.hedwall[AT]slu[dot]se) at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden in cooperation with associate professor Erik Öckinger, associate professor Adam Felton (both SLU) and partners in the FLEUR network.