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Last update: May 2021

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Theme 3

Biogeochemical/biophysical functioning of forest ecosystems in heterogeneous environments

We are interested in how ecological processes (related to biodiversity), forestry, disturbances (windthrows, droughts, etc.) and long-term changes (CO2, temperature, atmospheric nitrogen deposition, etc.) interact and modify the functioning of forest ecosystems at different levels of organisation, ranging from small scales (plant, rhizosphere) to the ecosystem scale and the landscape scale (patchwork of forests interacting with neighbouring agro-systems).

This research addresses two complementary scientific issues: (1) analysing the biogeochemical and biophysical functioning of forest ecosystems, and (2) understanding and simulating the trajectories of forest ecosystems under multiple constraints. In practice, the aim of this work is to contribute to forests adaptation to environmental changes through the development of decision-making tools and support for managers and public policy stakeholders.

Theme 3_UK

 Analysing the biogeochemical and biophysical functioning of forest ecosystems

We study how the environment (weather, soils), biodiversity (soil-rhizosphere-canopy microbial populations, plant species mixtures), and silvicultural management influence ecological processes and thus the functioning of forest ecosystems. This research focuses on biogeochemical cycles (H2O, C, N, P, etc.), biophysical processes (heat flux, microclimate, plant resistance to wind, etc.) and plant ecophysiology. The scales of study range from the finest approaches (soil aggregate, leaf, etc.) in order to understand processes, to broad scales (ecosystems, landscape) in order to integrate knowledge at a level compatible with adaptive management strategies.

 Understanding and predicting the trajectories of forest ecosystems under multiple constraints

Our research on natural processes provides a better understanding of the functioning of forest ecosystems at different scales. This research makes it possible to build numerical models that simulate the functioning of ecosystems and their trajectories under the effect of external factors. These external constraints may be trend-based (e.g. temperature increase, atmospheric deposits of anthropogenic origin, shortening of silvicultural rotations) or one-off in the form of disturbances (storms, drought, silvicultural cuttings). The variables modelled can be biogeochemical (such as carbon storage or greenhouse gas emissions), biophysical (microclimatic variables, heat flux), or ecophysiological (plant growth or water stress).