Ecology of Mountain Forest Ecosystems in Europe

Dominik Kulakowski

Graduate School of Geography, Clark University, USA

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Fellowship Period: 08.2015-10.2016

Research interests and main activities

Professor Kulakowski’s research examines mountain forest ecology, with a particular focus on (1) understanding the interactions among various direct and indirect effects of climate change and (2) contextualizing recent environmental change in a broader spatiotemporal perspective.  His research combines field data, dendroecology (the study of tree rigs), remotely-sensed imagery, and GIS with statistical and geospatial analysis and modelling. He has conducted research in the US Rocky Mountains, the Swiss Alps, and other European mountain ranges.

Activities within WSL Fellowship

Mountain forests are one of the most important ecosystems in Europe as they provide important ecological, hydrological, social, and economic values. Recent trends of land-use change, passive management, interest in managing forests in more natural states, emerging literature on the importance of disturbances, and an increase in climatically-driven disturbances are challenging long-held views of these ecosystems. Yet a new view of European mountain forest ecosystems is just emerging. We hosted a working group at the WSL-Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) in which ecologists working across European mountain forests synthesized current knowledge and explored critical knowledge gaps through presentations and goal-oriented discussion. We then organized and edited a special issue in Forest Ecology and Management that synthesized our understanding of the dynamics of these ecosystems and explored factors that underlie resilience and vulnerabilities of mountain forest ecosystems.

Cooperation within WSL

Interne Kontakte (Datensätze)

Cooperation outside of WSL

Rupert Seidl (Institute of Silviculture, Department of Forest- and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria)

Jan Holeksa (Adam Mickiewicz University, Faculty of Biology, Department of Plant Ecology and Environment Protection, Poznan, Poland)

Timo Kuuluvainen (Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland)

Thomas A. Nagel (Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Momchil Panayotov (Dendrology Department, University of Forestry, Sofia, Bulgaria)

Miroslav Svoboda (Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic)

Simon Thorn (Field Station Fabrikschleichach, Biocenter, University of Würzburg, Rauhenebrach, Germany)

Giorgio Vacchiano (Università degli Studi di Torino, Grugliasco, Italy)

Cathy Whitlock (Montana Institute on Ecosystems, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA)