Agricultural and food sciences
- Forestry management and modelling
Forest ecosystems are an essential terrestrial carbon sink, and deforestation and forest degradation account for about 12% of global anthropogenic carbon emissions. However, estimates of the global distribution of terrestrial carbon sinks and sources are highly uncertain. Constraining the inaccuracy of carbon estimates is essential to support effective forest management and future climate mitigation. A better understanding of forest growth dynamics will improve our understanding of the carbon cycle and mechanisms responsible for terrestrial carbon sources and sinks, reducing uncertainties on their magnitude and distribution. In the 3D-FOGROD project, I aim to improve our understanding of forest growth dynamics and evaluate the role of elevated CO2 levels on forest growth. I will achieve this by using novel 3D laser scanning (LiDAR) techniques, unique datasets and state-of-the-art modelling approaches to (1) accurately quantify forest growth using terrestrial LiDAR data in a free-air CO2 enrichment experiment; (2) improve historical and future simulated forest growth dynamics using LiDAR derived forest structure for a range of forest ecosystems; and (3) develop and disseminate recommendations for climate mitigation actions to policy makers based on new insights in forest growth dynamics and carbon cycling. The proposed scientific innovation and applicability will benefit the EU not only by generating new knowledge and publications in high-profile scientific journals, which will contribute to the enhancement of EU scientific excellence, but also by contributing to EU commitments to the Paris climate conference (COP 21) agreement that aims to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5°C. The science excellence and training through 3D-FOGROD will enable me to apply for senior research positions or an ERC starting grant in the future, which would allow me to establish my own research group focused on 3D terrestrial ecology.