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Author: Matteo Cerioni

Resilience of European temperate forests to large and severe disturbances – what have we learned from a continental-scale network of regeneration inventories?

As a result of anthropogenic climate change, forest disturbance regimes are also changing, with individual disturbances often becoming larger and more severe. This may slow down the forest recovery process, or in worst cases, especially under a warmer and drier climate, lead to strong shifts in ecosystem dynamics, or in other words: a loss of forest resilience. Though numerous case studies have examined post-disturbance regeneration in Europe, it’s less clear if we can generalize broad patterns of forest recovery across European temperate forests subjected to large and severe disturbances caused by different agents.

A team of forest researchers from the University of Ljubljana, leveraging the networks created under the European projects I-MAESTRO and FORECO, joined forces with several research institutes across Europe to put together numerous ground-based inventories of regeneration after large and severe disturbances in European temperate forests. The goal was to achieve a more robust understanding on their resilience. We aimed at identifying the main environmental drivers affecting resilience, and how people should manage disturbed forests to support the recovery of their pre-disturbance structure and functionalities.

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