Modelling tree drought vulnerability in the Andean Patagonian forest
Forests, which cover 31% of the world's land surface, are one of the main carbon sinks and provide a wide range of ecosystem services. The ongoing climatic change represents an increasing threat for many forests and tree mortality events caused by extreme droughts have been recorded worldwide. The Andean Patagonian forest due to climatic specificities and his high level of endism is particularly vulnerable. Today, three dominant species emblematic of the biodiversity of the Patagonian forest are showing clear signs of decline. But still little is known regarding the diversity of tree drought response strategies and resilience to drought and future impact of climate change on this forest. The project aims to predict tree vulnerability to global change of one of the emblematic species of the Andean Patagonian forest, the “Cordilleran cypress”, Austrocedrus chilensis. Estimations of current and future forest mortality risks will be obtained using cutting edge process-model combining hydraulic traits with eco-hydrological approaches and will contribute to the general understanding of the variability of ecophysiological mechanisms involved in drought resistance and tree-mortality The resulting scenarios for the evolution of tree-mortality over the next century in Patagonia will provide a useful first risk approximation to stakeholders to adapt forest management practices and identify lower-risk areas for conservancy planning options.
LE STUDIUM Visiting Researcher