WP2: Dynamic vegetation change across Europe

This work package will be carried out at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Institute.

Dynamic global vegetation models simulate changes in vegetation composition in terms of Plant Functional Types (PFTs), shifts in vegetation types, tree mortality, vegetation structure and biogeochemical fluxes between the soil, vegetation and the atmosphere. In contrast to species distribution models, dynamic vegetation models represent ecosystem dynamics under non-equilibrium conditions, accounting for species interactions, and include plant-physiological effects of changing atmospheric nitrogen depositions and atmospheric CO2 concentrations, which can alter water and latent heat fluxes. We will apply the global model LPJ-GUESS21 with an updated parameterization of the main tree species in Europe. The model will be run at unprecedented high spatial resolution of 1-5 km across Europe on data from WP1. Tree species traits will be updated with data from TRY23. Further relevant model output includes carbon storage and timber production from disturbances such as fire, which are important for assessing and NCP. Similar to WP3, all BD relevant variables can be either excluded or randomized in the overall feedback loop (Fig. 1) allowing a quantification of their effect on the entire biodiversity-climate system.

In this work package we will model the vegetation of European vegetation with as specific focus on forests. Image: Irina Iriser, Usplash.


  1. Parameterizing additional tree species: The tree species parameters from Hickler et al. (2012) will be updated using latest information on, e.g., species traits from TRY and analyses by T5.1. Additional important species will be added in discussion with stakeholders.
  2. Implementing forest management: Instead of simulating potential natural dynamics, as in Hickler et al. 2012), the model will be initialized with the existing distribution of main tree species. The forest management tool will be adapted to represent main European forest management types. These types will be rather general, distinguishing, e.g. conifer plantations with thinning and harvest at certain biomass levels, and mixed forests with more natural dynamics.
  3. Developing future forest management scenarios: Simplified scenarios for future forest management, such as an increase in mixed stands and less conifer monocultures, will be developed together with stakeholders. A further focus will be comparing scenarios in which the species composition is allowed to adapt to climate change (from LPJ-GUESS), compared with a stronger focus on tree species that are planted now.
  4. Simulating future dynamic vegetation: The model will be run at 5 km resolution with climate forcing data from WP1 across Europe. For particular areas, which will be decided upon with stakeholders, the runs will be carried out at 1 km resolution, which would not be computationally feasible for the whole study area. Output variables will include vegetation characteristics and ecosystem functions that are particularly important for feedbacks on the climate system (e.g. evapotranspiration, tree height, vegetation phenology, PFT distribution) and variables that are closely linked to NCPs (e.g. wood production, carbon sequestration, habitat continuity for nature conservation).


  1. Updated species parameters;
  2. Forest management implemented;
  3. Future forest management scenario simulations completed.


  1. Present-day and future simulation results for tree species and forest types distributions and forest ecosystem services for WP4, WP5 and WP7,
  2. Paper on the impacts of climate change and future forest management.
  3. Results from DVMs summarised for report to stakeholders and users

Title image: Ed Leszczynski, Unsplash.