Leuphana researches climate-friendly forest development in Lower Saxony

2024-07-08 Lüneburg/Braunschweig. In future, four new future labs - Climate Future Labs - at the Lower Saxony Center for Climate Research (ZKfN) will address the question of how cities and forests can be developed in a climate-friendly way. The Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture has now provided a total of around 20 million euros in funding for this. The Institute of Ecology at Leuphana University Lüneburg is involved in researching the "Effects of climate change on the forest ecosystem" in the Climate Future Lab "DIVERSA".

The Lüneburg sub-project is headed by Prof. Dr. Sylvia Haider and Dr. Andreas Fichtner. Four young scientists will complete the team. The subject of the research is the drought stress reactions of typical deciduous tree species such as copper beech and sessile oak. The scientists want to investigate which factors and mechanisms influence such reactions. To do this, they are looking at the influences of both environmental conditions and forest management.

The project aims to shed light on how the characteristics of the trees and the diversity of the forest stand influence the growth and growth stability of the tree species under investigation. In order to obtain data, the research team is planning observational studies at various locations in Lower Saxony as well as experiments in the greenhouse. The experimental part will make it possible to regulate the nutrient input and better understand the interactions between climate change and nutrient input.

"With our approach, we include both the study of older trees and established forest stands as well as the role of climate change for natural regeneration. Our aim is to come up with recommendations for the management of Lower Saxony's forests in the face of climate change," explains Professor Sylvia Haider.

The Climate Future Lab "DIVERSA" consists of scientists from the Northwest German Forest Research Institute Göttingen, the Georg August University Göttingen, the Leuphana University Lüneburg, the Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation as well as the Center for Biological Diversity, the Technical University Munich and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Together, they want to research and evaluate the resilience of German forests to stress factors such as drought, heat, etc. Based on the project results, existing instruments for monitoring, decision support and management of Lower Saxony's forests are to be further developed.