Global temperatures are rising. Temperature data derived from weather stations are used in order to assess and predict the impact of temperature changes on species, whereas the microclimate is often ignored. However, such local climates that are decoupled from regional open-habitat climatic conditions can locally buffer the impacts of climate change. With significant temperature buffering, species indeed need to migrate slower than anticipated, and therefore plants could have more time to adapt to the changing climate. Of all ecosystems, forests provide most proof of their buffering capacity due to the shading of trees.
Therefore, we aim to quantify, understand and predict microclimatic buffering of plant responses to macroclimate warming in temperate forests.
We make use of temperature gradients across four, complementary spatial scales. Miniature data loggers are collecting hourly air and soil temperature at 225 plots across Europe. In addition, data on vegetation, forest structure (i.e. terrestrial LiDAR) and management, light availability, macroclimatic temperature variability, and relative air humidity, litter and soil characteristics are being compiled for each of the 225 plots in spring 2018.
The aim of this poster is to present the project set-up, the whole experimental platform and innovative methods applied to further our understanding on microclimatic buffering.
We will improve our mechanistic insights on microclimate buffering and included forest management as backbone of the experimental set-up to be able to soundly inform policy makers and land managers.