Mountain forest ecology and management

Mountain forests provide essential goods and services to society, yet they are highly vulnerable to climate change. Our research focuses on understanding the impact of climate change on these ecosystems. By adopting different approaches and methods, and crucially, collaborating with stakeholders and forest practitioners, we strive to develop ecologically-guided strategies for the management of mountain forests in the face of global change.

In Europe, over 40% of the continent is occupied by mountain regions, of which about 40% is covered by forests. Mountain forest ecosystems play a vital role in society by offering a diverse range of goods and services. Besides protecting people and infrastructure against natural hazards, mountain forests offer various other cultural, provisioning, regulating and supporting services, such as timber and non-wood forest products, natural habitats for various plant and animal species, and recreational and cultural values.

However, the unique characteristics of mountain forests particularly expose them to risks related to climate change. Their temperature limitation and high exposure to warming make them particularly susceptible to severe impacts. Consequently, mountain forests serve as essential study systems, allowing us to detect and investigate the potential consequences of climate change at an early stage.

As global change unfolds, the need for effective management strategies in mountain forests becomes increasingly pressing. The escalating climatic stressors and natural disturbances call for the adaptation of current management systems. 
Our research focuses on examining the impact of climate change, specifically natural disturbances and extreme events such as severe droughts, on mountain forest ecosystems and their ability to provide essential services.

Through a robust collaboration with stakeholders and forest practitioners, and adopting a variety of approaches and methods, we provide invaluable insights that bridge the gap between theoretical understanding and practical knowledge. This collaboration facilitates the development of ecologically-guided adaptation strategies for the management of mountain forests in the face of global change.