Heat stress: The climate is putting European forests under heavy pressure

Hitzestress Ansgar Kahmen

In a forest in Hölstein near Basel researchers study the effects of climate change on the most important and sensitive part of the trees – the canopy. A total of 450 trees between 50 and 120 years old grow on the 1.6 hectare research area. (Photo: University of Basel)

No year since weather records began was as hot and dry as 2018. A first comprehensive analysis of the consequences of this drought and heat event shows that central European forests experienced a long-term damage. Even tree species considered drought-resistant, such as beech, pine and silver fir, suffered. The international study was directed by the University of Basel, which is conducting a forest experiment unique in Europe.

Reference publication
Schuldt, Bernhard; Buras, Allan; Arend, Matthias; Vitasse, Yann; Beierkuhnlein, Carl; Damm, Alexander; Gharun, Mana; Grams, Thorsten; Hauck, Markus; Hajek, Peter; Hartmann, Henrik;  Hilbrunner, Erika; Hoch, Günter; Holloway-Phillips, Meisha; Körner, Christian; Larysch, Elena; Luebbe, Torben; Nelson, Daniel; Rammig, Anja; Kahmen, Ansgar.
A first assessment of the impact of the extreme 2018 summer drought on Central European forests.
Basic and Applied Ecology (April 2020); doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2020.04.003

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