Impacts of extreme climate events and (fire) disturbances on ecosystems

Team: Susanne Rolinski, Kirsten Thonicke, Ariane Walz, Anja Rammig, Werner von Bloh

Externally funded projects: CARBO-EXTREME (EU FP7), FUME (EU FP7)

Regional focus: Europe, North Africa

Background: Recent regional climate model applications predict more intense and frequent extreme weather events such as droughts, heatwaves and heavy precipitation events over Europe during the 21st century. As a result from increasing drought, also the fire frequency is expected to rise strongly within Europe. A better understanding of the impacts of such disturbances on the stability of ecosystems and potential ecological tipping points required to reduce the ecosystems´ vulnerability through adapted land management.


Copyright: Digital Vision Ltd.

Research goals and questions: Projection and experiment-based investigations allow us to assess the ecological, biophysical and biogeochemical effects of extreme events and fire disturbance on the stability of European and Mediterranean Ecosystems.

  • What are critical magnitudes and frequencies of extreme events and fires disturbance for particular ecosystems?
  • How can ecosystem adapt to increasing magnitudes and frequencies of extreme events and fire disturbance?
  • How vulnerable are degraded or unadopted ecosystems?
  • Are ecosystems with high functional diversity less vulnerable against extreme events and fire disturbances?