The goal of this proposal is to generalise previous experimental observations of impacts of CO2 and temperature on trees to evaluate their likely impacts on forest ecosystems in view of their sustainable development. The deliverables include:
- the establishment of an extended inventory and the fundamental analysis of the available and acquired data related to carbon, nutrient and water cycles in typical Belgian forest ecosystems (e.g. functional types);
- the validated modelling of the pools and the fluxes under current conditions, including the scaling up to the level of the landscape unit and the region;
- the predictions of changes in the pools and the fluxes, under a series of realistic climatic scenario's, in view of a future sustainable development of Belgian forest ecosystems, including the formulation of relevant guidelines;
- the establishment of an integrated data base with easy access (CD-ROM), containing all experimental and simulated information on the biogeochemical cycles in Belgian forest ecosystems.
The analysis of the carbon, nutrient and water cycles of Belgian forest ecosystems will start from the inventory of observations made in 6 different experimental sites, corresponding to the major forests of Belgium (Functional forest types). The sites have been selected according to the existing basic knowledge on ecosystem functioning. A large amount of biogeochemical data is already available for the selected sites, and some of them are still operated within related research projects funded by the EU or the Belgian Regions.
The project revolves around 5 Task forces. The biogeochemical cycles in the forest ecosystems are considered as an interaction of carbon, nutrients and water cycling, driven by the uni-directional flow of energy. Data will be carefully checked, validated and introduced into a data base. Consecutive levels of investigation (leaf, whole tree, stand, catchment, region) cover a sequence of time-space domains for which up- and down- scaling techniques in modelling are required. Carbon, water, nutrients, data base modelling are the five task forces of the project.
It is expected that the study will yield a fundamental framework for the future Belgian forest policies, based on a realistic ecosystem approach which guarantees a sustainable development of our forest resources.