Forest disturbance in a changing world

Synchronization of forest disturbances in Europe

A recent study published in Global Change Biology for the first time documented continental-scale synchronization of forest disturbances in Europe.

In a recent study Cornelius Senf and Rupert Seidl investigated protected areas across the temperate zone of Europe, comparing disturbance patterns by means of Landsat satellite data.

Using the first consistent across-site disturbance dataset the authors could show that the natural disturbances of the last 30 years happened in highly synchronized waves across temperate forest landscapes of Europe.

Climatic extremes were identified as the causes of this disturbance synchronization. Particularly extreme winds and drought periods – influencing large land areas simultaneously – were found to trigger the observed disturbance waves.

Notwithstanding the temporal synchrony of disturbances their spatial patterns where highly variable across Europe. This variability was strongly driven by differences in topography, with smaller disturbance patches in highly complex mountain topography. More details can be found in the respective paper, published in the journal Global Change Biology.

Written by rupert on Thursday December 21, 2017

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