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Summary Report No. 9

Application of two forest succession models at sites in Northeast Germany

P. Lasch, M. Lindner (June 1995)

In order to simulate potential impacts of climate change on forests, two succession models were applied to sites in the Northeast German lowlands. The models, which had been developed for Alpine (FORECE) and Boreal (FORSKA) forests differ from each other in the way they represent tree growth processes and the impact of environmental factors on establishment and growth. Both models were adjusted and compared with each other at sites that are situated along an ecological gradient from maritime to subcontinental climate. These sites are extending the former environmental space of model application towards water limited conditions, which under a predicted climatic change may have increasing importance for European forests.

First results showed that FORECE was unrealistically sensitive to changes in soil moisture. On the other hand, FORSKA generally simulated very low biomasses. Since the structure of FORSKA seemed to be better suited for the simulation of changing environmental conditions, this model was chosen for further model development, applications and sensitivity analyses. Among other changes, establishment rates were increased and some environmental response factors were analysed. The function to account for resource depletion was modified. After the modifications for Central European conditions were made, there was a decrease in performance for the Boreal site. Both simulated total biomasses and species composition had changed. We conclude, that with currently available models, realistic forest dynamics within different climatic zones of Europe cannot be simulated without more substantial model modifications.

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