Adaptation of Ecosystems to Global Change
Effects of global changes on forest ecosystems and disturbance regimes
Using current hi-tech infrastructure, we plan to shift the level of knowledge to a qualitatively new level. We plan to research the factors affecting the state of forest ecosystems and their components in the laboratory and field conditions. In climate boxes and chambers, we will examine the impact of various factors of the simulated environmental conditions on host plants, particularly the changes in the production of metabolites related to defence capability and predisposition to attacks by bark beetles and the population of bark beetles. Under field conditions, we will use terrestrial and airborne laser scanners to map the structure of ecosystems to obtain the reactions of trees to the specific conditions using terrestrial and aerial thermal imaging cameras and a hyperspectral scanner. Airborne sensors will be carried by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). All detailed information obtained from them will be qualitatively new inputs (resolution in millimetres to centimetres) into the decision support systems developed to manage spruce ecosystems. Time series of satellite data (Landsat, Sentinel 2) will be used to assess long-term ecosystem dynamics. The analysis of semiochemicals (substances used for chemical communication between individuals of the same species or between species) under laboratory and field conditions, particularly in the host–phytophage communication system, will be supported by gas chromatography with mass spectrometry coupled with electroantenography capable of detecting insect responses to volatile biologically active compounds. This data will be helpful for the management of insect populations.
Stress factors and adaptive potential of forest trees
It is increasingly important to understand tree species’ responses and adaptability to new environmental conditions arising from ongoing climate changes associated with more frequent extreme weather events. Therefore, our objectives are to track changes in photosynthetic productivity, chlorophyll fluorescence and bioenergetics, and forest tree photosystems’ functioning affected by abiotic and biotic stress factors. Physiological research on forest tree populations, their productivity (photosynthetic activity estimated by chlorophyll fluorescence, plant gas exchange measurement, etc.) and their resilience will be the most effective approach to determining and predicting the potential effects of various stress factors. We will focus mainly on spruce and other economic forest tree species (e.g. poplar clones), which provide important ecosystem services in central Europe.
Human dimension of global environmental changes and ecosystem services
Our future research interests will target social innovations to ensure rural and urban sustainability and adaptation to global change. In particular, we are concerned with (i) ecosystem service governance and business innovations for sustainable supply of forest ecosystem services, (ii) socio-technological innovations in forestry and rural development to support climate-smart forestry under the impact of global change, (iii) the role of resource regimes for management effectiveness, in particular, whether self-management and self-governance can increase innovation capacities and (iv) trans-disciplinary approaches to involve stakeholders in decision making under the global (multilevel) arena.
It includes the following: