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Acclimation and environmental memory - how do trees adjust to warmer droughts on different time scales and where are the limits?

 

With global warming, droughts in the 21st century will set in more rapidly, last longer and be more intense. Because forests store the majority of terrestrial carbon (C) and are primary drivers of global evapotranspiration, feedbacks between rising temperature, extended periods of reduced precipitation, and forest functioning could have major implications on climate regulation. The objectives of this project are (i) to assess the impacts of atmospheric warming and soil drought on short- and long-term mechanisms of tree acclimation from the leaf- to the whole-plant level, (ii) to compare acclimation potential gained from transgenerational epigenetic effects vs. local adaptation, and (iii) understand the limits of acclimation and the tipping points leading to progressive tree decline to predict mortality trajectories.