Post-disturbance forest regeneration in a context of environmental uncertainty
The PhD position is at Department of Agricultural and Forest Engineering of the University of Lleida (Catalonia, Spain).
PhD position is fully funded and will be supervised by Dr Lluís Coll:
There is a general consensus in the literature that the expected intensification of disturbance regimes associated to global warming will highly impact the growth, vitality and distribution of Mediterranean forests. Different approaches have been used to quantify and predict the response capacity of forests to disturbances. Quantitative indices, for example, have been successfully applied to assess the persistence potential of communities based on the presence of species response-traits. Although these approaches have proved useful to broadly characterize communities’ persistence, they do not capture the complexity of the system, and they fall short trying to identify state changes or tipping points.
The project aims to shed some light to these questions and gain further insights into the drivers of Mediterranean forest resilience by proposing a number of studies at different spatial scales that combine quantitative indicators with descriptive analyses of post-disturbance successional pathways.
The project grounds on the hypothesis that the structure and composition of the forests (before and after the disturbance) together with the climatic conditions right after the events are critical for their response to disturbances. Secondarily, it considers that biotic interactions with the neighboring vegetation and the presence of plant pathogens play a major role in determining short- and mid-term post-disturbance responses and that these effects vary according to the climate.
It is expected that the information generated in the project will be relevant to prepare for future impacts of disturbances and climate change on forests and the functions they provide, as well as to anticipate these impacts.
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