Forest disturbance in a changing world

Canopy mortality has doubled in Europe’s temperate forests over the last three decades

A recent remote sensing study, published in Nature Communications, reveals consistently increasing trends in forest canopy mortality over Central Europe.

Under the lead of Cornelius Senf, Rupert Seidl and Julius Sebald and other colleagues conducted a remote sensing study over six Central European countries (Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Czechia and Poland). They reconstructed canopy mortality trends for more than 30 Million km2 of forest, using Landsat satellite data from 1984 to 2016.

The results show that canopy mortality increased in all six countries with the strongest trend in Slovakia and the lowest trend in Germany.

Further a multi-proxy analysis of mortality changes revealed a positive relationship between forest canopy mortality and tree volume affected by bark beetle and wind disturbances, suggesting that increasing natural disturbances contribute to the observed trends.

The study received intensive attention in the media, including the following articles:




Written by Julius Sebald on Friday December 14, 2018

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