Mar 30, 2020

Mapping the coupled human and natural disturbance regimes of Europe's forests

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Zhuo ZhaoHui Zhang


Forest disturbance shape ecosystem composition and structure, and changes in forest disturbances can have strong consequences for carbon storage and biodiversity. Yet we currently lack consistent quantitative data on Europe's forest disturbance regimes and their changes over time. Here we used satellite data to map three decades (1986 - 2016) of forest disturbances across continental Europe, covering 35 countries and a forest area of 210 Mill. ha at a spatial grain of 30 m, and analyzed the patterns and trends in disturbance size, frequency and severity. Between 1986 and 2016, 17 % of Europe's forest area was disturbed by anthropogenic or natural causes, totaling to 25 Mill. individual disturbance patches with a mean patch size 1.09 ha (range between 1st and 99th percentile 0.18 - 10.10 ha). On average 0.52 (0.02 - 3.01) disturbances occurred per sqkm every year, removing on average 77 % (22 - 100 %) of the canopy. While spatial patterns of disturbance were highly variable, disturbance frequency consistently increased, and disturbance severity decreased since 1986. Both social and ecological factors are needed to explain the observed patterns and trends in forest disturbance. We thus conclude that in order to understand and man...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biological Markers
Gene Polymorphism
Genetic Markers
Strictosidine Synthase Activity
Genetic Assessment

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