Biological and Environmental Sciences at Stirling will receive £526,000 under the new project, which will focus on European beech – the most widespread broadleaf tree in Europe, covering more than 15 million hectares. Beech produces valuable wood and fibre, which is used diversely and is known to be at high risk from drought-linked dieback and mortality.
The research will link satellite observations and process-based models calibrated from a data network that provides a detailed picture of tree growth from about 10,000 trees across 25 countries. The data will enable the team to model the processes and extent of tree growth suppression and to map and monitor drought-stress vulnerability across the entire range of beech in near real-time. New tools developed in the project will support forward planning for UK forest management.
Professor Jump added: “This work will contribute to major new scientific insights into forest growth reduction and die-off in response to drought, with substantial benefits for improving our understanding of impacts on our ecosystems and atmosphere.”