Assessing vulnerability to global change of Western Mediterranean forests using tree-rings and a mechanistic approach

Project description: 
Mediterranean forests had to acclimate to changing climate in the Holocene and since the Neolithic they were transformed by human management. Big socio-economic and climatic changes in the last two centuries and particularly since the mid twentieth century strongly influence present forest dynamics. Climate change induced modifications of forest productivity should be particularly evident at species distributional limits and a further enhancement in overall water stress could pose a threat to species at the xeric limit of their distribution likely increasing mortality rates. Climate is a main driver for forest performance but it interacts with other non-climatic factors such as CO2 concentration or soil nutrient availability to determine net forest productivity. For this reason it is important to address the non-linear interactions between the different drivers determining tree productivity using ecophysiological approaches. In this project we will use a combination of tree-ring dendroecological data and carbon and micrometerological measurements from eddycovariance stations to calibrate the MAIDEN model and investigate how different species under different levels of competition and mixing will respond to climate change with special emphasis to analyze how Western Mediterranean forests would respond to a further increases in overall water stress.