Contract number



Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources

Type of project

ARRS projects

Type of project

Basic research project




01.07.2019 - 30.06.2022


1.45 FTE

Project manager at BF

Nagel Thomas Andrew


Climate change is expected to cause dramatic alterations to forest ecosystems over the next century. Ongoing climate change influences forests via two contrasting sets of processes, namely, 1) long term and gradual changes in temperature and precipitation and 2) changes in naturaldisturbance regimes, such as alterations in the frequency and severity of fires, windstorms, insect and pathogen outbreaks, and severe drought. These climate-related drivers in turn cause both slow and fast changes to forest ecosystems. There is widespread concern in the scientific community that the combination of multiple drivers, such as severe disturbance and drought, may exceed the resilience threshold of a given forest system, potential leading to a loss of ecosystem services. The proposed research takes advantage of unique circumstances (i.e. widespread damage from recent severe ice-storm and bark beetle disturbances) and long-term national scale data to examine the influence of both of these climate related drivers at the scale of Slovenia and beyond.

  • Workpackage (WP) 1 will monitor forest recovery following large-severe disturbances in dominant forest types as a measure of resilience;
  • WP 2 uses long-term data from permanent plots across oldgrowth forests in Slovenia, Europe, North America, and globally to xamine rates of tree mortality to better understand how climate change may be influencing demography;
  • WP 3 uses national forest inventory data to examine if tree regeneration is tracking changes in climate.

Collectively, these three studies will provide key insight into the ongoing effects of climate change on forest ecosystems, and strengthen collaboration among three research labs at the department of forestry, University of Ljubljana, as well as with other international collaborators.



Detailed implementation plan and timetable:

WP1: The first step of WP1 will be to identify all the study locations and set up the permanent monitoring plots in the field. A pilot study already initiated this in one location, and additional locations have already been identified during field reconnaissance. Field surveys of establishment, growth, and mortality will take place each year of the project, such that analyses and writing will take place during the last year. This WP will be co-led by D. Roženbergar, T. Hauptman, and T. Nagel.

WP2: The database for WP2 is continuously updated each year, which will continue during the project as repeated inventories on the permanent plots are carried out. The main task in WP2 will include analysis and writing. If sufficient funding is available, we will also update the spatially explicit tree locations using modern mapping equipment. This WP will be led by T. Nagel.

WP3: The first major step in WP3 is to compile and prepare the databases for further analyses. Two key databases are needed:

  1. DATA_AB, constructed from the permanent sampling plots (n ≈ 103,000), which includes data on the presence of life stages A and B of the individual tree species; data on four basic studied climatic and geographical parameters (T, P, L, E); and data on climatic and topographic variables.
  2. Database DATA_C is constructed from the regeneration plots (n ≈ 1600); this dataset will be augmented with an additional field survey of approx. 500 plots collected in the first field season of the project. Key data for each plot contains data on the presence of regeneration (C) of the individual tree species, and data on four basic climatic and geographical variables (T, P, L, E), as well as additional topographic variables.

Once the databases are complete, we will perform the analyses outlined above, starting with the basic analysis of demographic parameters (i.e presence, range, and abundance of different life stages of individual tree species), followed by the analysis of changes in the distribution of life stages. This WP will be led by A. Bončina and M. Klopčič.