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Response of temperate European ecosystems to drought

Date:

Location:

Englersaal, WSL Birmensdorf (video-link to SLF Davos)

Organized by:

Rosmarie Büchi

Speaker:

Prof. Dr. Ansgar Kahmen, Department of Environmental Sciences - Physiological Plant Ecology, University of Basel, Switzerland

Moderated by:

Arthur Gessler

Language:

english

Type of event:

Distinguished Lectures

Target audience:

everybody interested in this topic

Prof. Dr. Ansgar Kahmen

Climate models project that precipitation patterns in Europe will change, with reduced precipitation in the summer months. In addition, it is projected that heat spells and drought events will last longer and have a higher intensity in the future. While there is consensus that reduced precipitation and drought events will result in less net primary productivity (NPP) and can even turn European ecosystems from net carbon sinks into carbon sources, it has been proven difficult to quantify these effects. In my talk I will present the outcomes of several experiments that we have performed in the past years in grasslands and forest to test (i) if ecosystems are equally sensitive to drought throughout a growing season, (ii) if legacy or recovery effects can worsen or weaken the impact of drought on NPP, (iii) if the drought response of different tree species is related to their water source in the soil and (iv) if trees in a Swiss forest were close to carbon starvation or hydraulic failure during the record hot and dry summer 2015. The results from these studies were partly surprising and indicate that temperate European ecosystems might be more resistant and resilient to drought that previously thought.