Global Change; Climate Change; Vegetation; Environment; Fire; Prehistory; Holocene; Mediterranean
Ruosch Melanie, Spahni Renato, Joos Fortunat, Henne Paul D., van der Knaap Willem O., Tinner Willy (2016), Past and future evolution of Abies alba forests in Europe - comparison of a dynamic vegetation model with palaeo data and observations, in Global Change Biology
, 22(2), 727-740.
Beffa Giorgia, Pedrotta Tiziana, Colombaroli Daniele, Henne Paul D., van Leeuwen Jacqueline F. N., Suesstrunk Pascal, Kaltenrieder Petra, Adolf Carole, Vogel Hendrik, Pasta Salvatore, Anselmetti Flavio, Gobet Erika, Tinner Willy (2016), Vegetation and fire history of coastal north-eastern Sardinia (Italy) under changing Holocene climates and land use, in Vegetation History and Archaeobotany
, 25, 271-289.
Henne Paul D., Elkin Che, Franke Joerg, Colombaroli D., Calo Camilla, La Mantia Tommaso, Pasta Salvatore, Conedera Marco, Dermody Orla, Tinner Willy (2015), Reviving extinct Mediterranean forests increases ecosystem potential in a warmer future, in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
, 13, 356-362.
Henne Paul D., Elkin Che´, Colombaroli Daniele, Samartin Stéphanie, Bugmann Harald, Heiri Oliver, Tinner Willy (2013), Impacts of changing climate and land use on vegetation dynamics in a Mediterranean ecosystem: insights from paleoecology and dynamic modeling, in Landscape Ecology
, 28, 819-833.
Tinner Willy, Colombaroli Daniele, Heiri Oliver, Henne Paul D., Steinacher Marco, Untenecker Johanna, Vescovi Elisa, Allen J.R.M., Carraro Gabriele, Conedera Marco, Joos Fortunat, Lotter André F., Luterbacher Jürg, Samartin Stéphanie, Valsecchi Verushka (2013), The past ecology of Abies alba provides new perspectives on future responses of silver fir forests to global warming, in Ecological Monographs
, 83, 419-443.
The Mediterranean area is one of the most fire-prone regions of the world. Wildfires inflict an annual toll in human life and property, with economic costs reaching billions of Euros. Ecological impacts are both immediate and long-lasting, with fire-triggered vegetational dynamics ranging in length from decades to centuries. The societal and ecological importance of forest fire is underscored by recent studies that concluded global warming is likely to induce more frequent fires. The increased fire occurrence will substantially contribute to vegetation changes. Understanding these complex environmental responses to global change requires long-term records. Such records are the only means to observe ecosystem response to large-magnitude environmental changes on decadal and longer time scales, and are also necessary to verify models capable of predicting future conditions. This project aims to develop the first contiguous, quantitative reconstructions of Holocene fire dynamics at local to regional scales from the central Mediterranean area. Our approach will apply recent breakthroughs in local fire reconstruction (e.g. fire-return interval estimates) to Mediterranean sedimentary series, and employ a novel technique (i.e., quantification of regional charcoal abundance in lake sediments with remote sensing data) to extend the science of quantitative fire reconstructions to a regional scale for the first time. Reconstructed fire dynamics will be compared with records of past climatic and vegetational change to assess fire-vegetation interactions in response to climate change. Our quantitative fire records will ultimately provide the means to validate a dynamic landscape vegetation model capable of simulating fire dynamics and disturbance impacts on vegetation under anticipated climatic conditions. The specific goals of this project are to:•Quantify the relationship between sediment charcoal abundance and regional fire regimes on the basis of remote sensing data and recent sediments from a network of 30 - 50 lakes spanning a wide gradient (from tundra to Mediterranean maquis) in Europe, and apply this relationship to charcoal reconstructions. •Reconstruct at high temporal resolution past climate-land use-fire-vegetation interactions at representative sites using a multiproxy approach including biotic (e.g. charcoal, pollen, macrofossils, chironomids, diatoms) and non-biotic (e.g. oxygen isotopic) sedimentary records of environmental change. •Simulate Holocene climate-land use-fire-vegetation- interactions with the LandClim dynamic forest landscape model, and validate model outputs with reconstructions from objectives 1 and 2. Input climatic data from regional climate models into LandClim to simulate future fire regimes under anticipated climatic scenarios. This project will provide the first high-resolution, spatially-explicit, long-term records of the interactions among climate, land use, vegetation type, and fire disturbance for the Mediterranean region. Such information is critical to formulating management strategies that protect ecological function (e.g., promote ecosystem diversity), but also limit the devastating impacts of Mediterranean wildfire. This project builds upon recent work demonstrating the existence during the Holocene of forest communities that are well-adapted to Mediterranean climatic conditions but rarely burned. Our new data will explore the existence of such communities under past and future conditions. Information about the interactions between Mediterranean vegetation types and wildfire is also increasingly important north of the Mediterranean basin, as these vegetation types are forecasted to expand into Central Europe, including Switzerland.