Acclimation and Mortality (ARiD)

Project proposal funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Acclimation and Mortality: European Forest Response to Increasing Drought Stress (ARiD).

Principal Investigator: Dr. Edurne Martinez del Castillo

Duration: spring 2024 - spring 2027


The recent increase in drought frequency and persistence challenges the acclimation capacity of many tree species and causes widespread productivity declines and dieback across European forests. The accelerated speed of these processes questions long-standing management practices and demonstrates the need to reconstruct and model growth and stand dynamics under changing boundary conditions. Here, I propose to analyze inter-regional climate-growth responses to model the resilience and acclimation of trees under future climate conditions. The analysis is centered on one of the most important forest species in central Europe (Pinus sylvestris L.) and will be upscaled to its distribution range. I will focus on the relationship between xylem anatomy and climate variability before, during, and after past drought events to derive statistically validated estimates of pine acclimation capacity using a tree-ring network of living and dead trees in central Europe. The integration of widespread empirical data from hundreds of tree-ring sites and state-of-the-art modelling will be essential to evaluate forest performance across a wide range of natural environments in Europe. This approach will provide insights to address global change research questions with major ecological and socio-economic repercussions. The project will thereby contribute to ongoing efforts of developing sustainable forestry strategies under changing climate.


Pinus sylvestris forest


Tree core from a Pinus sylvestris tree