The objectives of this Action:
1) To summarise current knowledge of belowground biodiversity in forest ecosystems across a management intensity gradient. The Action will assess the role of soil biodiversity as a determinant of ecosystem stability. The deliverable for this objective will be the provision of a platform for knowledge integration and identification of cross-cutting issues and facilitation of exchange of ideas between members of different research communities. The syntheses will be published in scientific publications.
2) To integrate new theoretical and technological advances in biodiversity research in the forest ecosystem research community. Emerging analytical and modelling approaches will be showcased by inviting world-leading speakers to each of the annual Action meetings. The main deliverable for this objective will be the creation of a European research community of forest scientists aware of the potential uses of new technologies and their application to forestry practice.
3) To provide a focal point for the dissemination of information about forest biodiversity and ecosystem function. A deliverable for this objective will be dissemination of information designed for end-users such as forest owners and managers, policy makers or private companies through a website. In collaboration with national forestry organisations and trade bodies, knowledge synthesised by the Action will be disseminated at appropriate level of detail and complexity.
4) To collate and exchange recent findings from experimental and observational studies of belowground biodiversity in perennial tree crops and simplified ecosystems. These will be contrasted to those from forest ecosystems. The main deliverable will be to establish an expert network specifically dedicated to the study of diversity gradients in forest ecosystems, from ‘natural’ forests to intensively managed crop plantations.
5) To compare experimental and model results from natural forests and tree crops concerning effects on soil biodiversity. Further inclusion of know-how from related modelling research (aquatic food-web modelling, agricultural soil modelling) will boost the development of new forest ecosystem modelling concepts that include soil functional diversity in a more mechanistic way.
6) To identify new cross-disciplinary research areas. This objective will be delivered in a series of review and opinion publications in peer-reviewed journals. The Action will consolidate existing knowledge and indicate avenues of future research.
The objectives of this Action will be achieved by:
1) Bringing together scientists with expertise relevant to forest belowground biodiversity and its application in models and practical uses. The networking facilitated by the action will promote assessment and adoption of best practice sampling and analytical methodologies, as well as encourage interdisciplinary assessment of their applicability.
2) Stimulating an exchange of early-stage researchers and research students among Action participants, through the provision of travel funds for STSMs and training schools. This will enable integration across scientific, management and policy spheres, in addition to the interaction between scientists working towards similar goals within the Action.
3) Bringing in experts working on the cutting edge of biodiversity research, but not necessarily in forest setting, the Action will facilitate an exchange of ideas, methodologies and crossdisciplinary application of principles and biodiversity theory.
4) Pulling together experts with relevant stakeholders, including forests and tree crop practitioners, managers and producers. This will allow participants to adapt and develop management strategies for improving production while maintaining or improving ecosystem service provision.
5) Aggregating and disseminating knowledge of belowground biodiversity and functional diversity by organising training schools for researchers and modellers, by compiling peer-reviewed scientific publications, and by organising conferences.
The project will follow next main goals:
1) To develop a synthesis of existing information on belowground biodiversity in European forests and tree crops and its role in the maintenance of ecosystem resilience and stability.
2) To foster the development of the next generation of soil biodiversity experts.
3) To create an opportunity for forest model users to explore the integration of growth- and network-based models.
4) Promote knowledge on the role of soil biological communities in fostering resilience in agroecosystems across Europe which feature tree crops such as walnut, chestnut, olives, oak or other perennials.
5) Link current understanding of functional belowground biodiversity at different scales and trophic levels in European forests in order to provide a basis for the development of prescriptions for tree ecosystem management.
6) Assess how knowledge of biodiversity function can be utilised to strengthen ecosystem resilience and of ecosystem service provision, as well as its utilisation in support of EU climate change adaptation policies.
The objectives of this Action: