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Project 3D-FOGROD: Understanding forest growth dynamics using novel 3D measurements and modelling approaches

2019-10-01 – 2021-09-30

Abstract

Forest ecosystems are an essential terrestrial carbon sink, and deforestation and forest degradation account for

about 12% of global anthropogenic carbon emissions. However, estimates of the global distribution of terrestrial

carbon sinks and sources are highly uncertain. Constraining the inaccuracy of carbon estimates is essential to support

effective forest management and future climate mitigation. A better understanding of forest growth dynamics will

improve our understanding of the carbon cycle and mechanisms responsible for terrestrial carbon sources and

sinks, reducing uncertainties on their magnitude and distribution. In the 3D-FOGROD project, I aim to improve our

understanding of forest growth dynamics and evaluate the role of elevated CO2 levels on forest growth. I will achieve

this by using novel 3D laser scanning (LiDAR) techniques, unique datasets and state-of-the-art modelling approaches

to (1) accurately quantify forest growth using terrestrial LiDAR data in a free-air CO2 enrichment experiment; (2)

improve historical and future simulated forest growth dynamics using LiDAR derived forest structure for a range

of forest ecosystems; and (3) develop and disseminate recommendations for climate mitigation actions to policy

makers based on new insights in forest growth dynamics and carbon cycling. The proposed scientific innovation and

applicability will benefit the EU not only by generating new knowledge and publications in high-profile scientific

journals, which will contribute to the enhancement of EU scientific excellence, but also by contributing to EU

commitments to the Paris climate conference (COP 21) agreement that aims to limit the increase in global temperature

to 1.5°C. The science excellence and training through 3D-FOGROD will enable me to apply for senior research

positions or an ERC starting grant in the future, which would allow me to establish my own research group focused on

3D terrestrial ecology.