Mechanisms driving B-EF in forests

Forests cover one-third of the Earth’s land surface and contain ~80% of global terrestrial biodiversity and make substantial contributions to human society such as producing timber and food, sequestering carbon and maintaining human health. However, forest ecosystems and their biodiversity are threatened globally due to deforestation, climate change and other global change drivers, which may jeopardize the provision of diverse ecosystem functions and services as well as forest sustainability. Therefore, it is crucial to improve our understanding of how changes in forest biodiversity influence the functioning of forest ecosystems. In this project, we will first a new trait-based approach to estimate complementarity and selection in forest ecosystems based on above- and belowground trait values in monocultures and mixtures. Next, we will use the production ecology equation to determine the effects of biodiversity on productivity-related ecosystem functions (aboveground wood productivity and tree growth stability), while simultaneously considering above and belowground resources in the equation. Finally, we will assess tree diversity effects on the physiological response of trees to the pan-European severe heat wave and drought of 2018 by studying the isotope composition of leaf tissue, collected in TreeDivNet experiments.

Researcher: Dr. Xin Jing

Koenraad Van Meerbeek
Koenraad Van Meerbeek
Assistant professor