Quantifying changes in forest structure and their impact on microclimate across spatial and temporal scales by integrating ground- and satellite-based remote sensing

01 January 2023 → 31 December 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Climate change
    • Remote sensing
    • Terrestrial ecology
    • Environmental monitoring
Laser scanning satellite data forest disturbances
Project description

Forest ecosystems play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle and the global climate system. Despite this important role forests play in our climate system and society, there is increasing evidence that forests globally are under increasing pressure from climate change. Microclimate regulation is a key forest function of high importance as forests can buffer the impacts from climate extremes. While the link between climate extremes and increased forest disturbances is well developed, the impacts of forest disturbances on forest structure and subsequent forest functions are less well understood. The amount of buffering within forests (buffering capacity) is directly linked to forest structure, because forest structure determines the amount of incoming solar radiation, the amount of water available at the forest floor, the rate of evapotranspiration, and the speed of below-canopy winds. Within this project we will use microclimate measurements and remote sensing techniques. This includes novel daily automated laser scanning, yearly detailed terrestrial laser scanning and upscaling through radiative transfer modelling and satellite data. This project aims to quantify and understand the impact of how increasing forest disturbances change the buffering capacity of temperate forests across spatial and temporal scales, that is from individuals to landscapes and from days to years.