The FunDivEUROPE project

Biodiversity research of the last 15 years could demonstrate that multiple functions and services of an ecosystem are influenced by the number of species within this system. Most of these findings, however, are based on research within grassland systems. So science has to make the next big step and address those ecosystems that control a good portion of the carbon, nutrient and water balances of the earth: the forests.

Within this project that started in October 2010, scientists from 24 institutions spread across 15 countries are quantifying the influence of biodiversity on forest ecosystem functions and services. To achieve this, FunDivEUROPE was following different approaches:

Firstly, the project worked at the European sites of a global network of tree diversity experiments, established within the last ten years. Here, new little forests have been planted with 1, 2, 4, or 8 tree species, while keeping environmental variables as constant as possible. In this way, causal relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functions were derived.

Secondly, the project used a newly designed network of comparative plots in existing mature forests. These are 250 plots in six European regions that differ in their tree species richness and composition representing important European forest types along the gradient from boreal forest to mediterranean forest.

Third, we compiled existing information from national forest inventories and other forest monitoring networks, in order to extract potential diversity signals in processes, such as forest growth, mortality and regeneration. Using modelling and state-of-the-art techniques for quantitative synthesis, the project integrated information gained from the different platforms to assess the performance of pure and mixed species stands under changing climate.

In addition to these three research “platforms”, FunDivEUROPE set up a web-based knowledge transfer platform in order to foster communication, aggregation and synthesis of individual findings and communication with stakeholders, policy makers and the wider public. The information gained should enable forest owners, forest managers and forest policy makers to adapt policies and management for the sustainable use of forest ecosystems in a changing environment, capitalizing on the potential effects of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning.

More information about the project can be found here:


A measure for the amount of tree species mixed on a given site or stand. Can be measured in various forms (e.g. Shannon Index, tree species richness).
Describes the number of different species that are represented in a given community or population. The effective number of species (trees, plants, mosses,...) refers to the number of equally abundant species needed to obtain the same mean proportional species abundance as that observed in specific community or population (where all species may not be equally abundant). Species diversity consists of two components: species richness and species evenness. Species richness is a simple count of species, whereas species evenness quantifies how equal the abundances of the species are.
silviculture trees dying from natural causes, usually by size class in relation to sequential inventories or subsequent to incidents such as storms, wildfire, or insect and disease epidemics 2. wildlife the loss to a population from all lethal causes, i.e., hunter kill, poaching, predation, accident, and disease (SAFnet, 2008) 
Michael Scherer-Lorenzen - The FunDivEUROPE project
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About FunDivEurope

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