Lab

Forest Modelling Lab.

About the lab

The Forest Modelling Laboratory is a research laboratory of the Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Systems in the Mediterranean at the National Research Council of Italy (ISAFOM-CNR) that specifically studies and analyzes the quantitative and qualitative representation of the interactions underlying the productivity, resistance and resilience to perturbations of forest ecosystems and their responses to forcing ecological and climate; develops, parameterises, validates and uses process simulation models, regressive models, dynamics models, both to deepen the understanding of the processes understanding of the processes underlying the functioning of the forest ecosystems, which to evaluate their response to the climate and climate change scenarios.
https://www.forest-modelling-lab.com

Featured projects (1)

Project
Terrestrial ecosystems, and forests in particular, are important components because of their key role in reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations by storing a large amount of carbon in biomass and soils. Increasing attention is being paid to forestland area, which accounts for 30% of the total land surface and acts as the main C store in the land system. In their life cycle, plants uptake, process, allocate, and remobilize resources from the environment, including basic materials, such as CO2, water, and nutrients, and other materials, such as sugars, proteins, and defensive chemicals. The relative amount of above- and belowground biomass allocated among leaves, branches, stems, roots, and reproductive tissues is a functional indicator of the forest stand and reflects the material flow, the wood quality, a plant’s survival strategy, and the primary production processes. The way in which plants share their labile products across their compartments is influenced by plant size and is not fixed but likely varies over time, across growth environments, and among species. It follows that the whole allocation process would be modulated under strong natural selection. Obtaining a qualitative/quantitative understanding of the influence that these factors have on growth and biomass allocation is of fundamental importance for both understanding plant ecology and evolution and developing environmental policies and forest management practices, such as: - sequestration to increase stocks in more recalcitrant woody carbon pools, characterized by a slow build-up of carbon with a potentially slower release of carbon to the atmosphere; - conservation to prevent emissions from existing forest carbon pools in regions with high C stocks and where natural disturbances are less frequent to cause large immediate reductions in C stocks; - substitution of energy-intensive products with products derived from renewable resources; and - the improvement of practices that aim to increase wood quality for social purposes. https://www.mdpi.com/journal/forests/special_issues/Growth_Allocation_Woody_Biomass Submission deadline 31 March 2020

Featured research (127)

Mediterranean pine plantations provide several ecosystem services but are vulnerable to climate change. Forest management might play a strategic role in the adaptation of Mediterranean forests, but the joint effect of climate change and diverse management options have seldom been investigated together. Here, we simulated the development of a Laricio pine (Pinus nigra subsp. laricio) stand in the Bonis watershed (southern Italy) from its establishment in 1958 up to 2095 using a state-of-the-science process-based forest model. The model was run under three climate scenarios corresponding to increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 concentration and warming, and six management options with different goals, including wood production and renaturalization. We analysed the effect of climate change on annual carbon fluxes (i.e., gross and net primary production) and stocks (i.e., basal area, standing and harvested carbon woody stocks) of the autotrophic compartment, as well as the impact of different management options compared to a no management baseline. Results show that higher temperatures (+3 to +5°C) and lower precipitation (−20 % to −22 %) will trigger a decrease in net primary productivity in the second half of the century. Compared to no management, the other options had a moderate effect on carbon fluxes over the whole simulation (between −14 % and +11 %). While standing woody biomass was reduced by thinning interventions and the shelterwood system (between −5 % and −41 %), overall carbon stocks including the harvested wood were maximized (between +41 % and +56 %). Results highlight that management exerts greater effects on the carbon budget of Laricio pine plantations than climate change alone, and that climate change and management are largely independent (i.e., no strong interaction effects). Therefore, appropriate sil-vicultural strategies might enhance potential carbon stocks and improve forest conditions, with cascading positive effects on the provision of ecosystem services in Mediterranean pine plantations.
Forest management practices might act as nature-based methods to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and slow anthropogenic climate change and thus support an EU forest-based climate change mitigation strategy. However, the extent to which diversified management actions could lead to quantitatively important changes in carbon sequestration and stocking capacity at the tree level remains to be thoroughly assessed. To that end, we used a state-of-the-science bio-geochemically based forest growth model to simulate effects of multiple forest management scenarios on net primary productivity (NPP) and potential carbon woody stocks (pCWS) under twenty scenarios of climate change in a suite of observed and virtual forest stands in temperate and boreal European forests. Previous modelling experiments indicated that the capacity of forests to assimilate and store atmospheric CO2 in woody biomass is already being attained under business-as-usual forest management practices across a range of climate change scenarios. Nevertheless, we find that on the long-term, with increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration and warming, managed forests show both higher productivity capacity and a larger potential pool size of stored carbon than unmanaged forests as long as thinning and tree harvesting are of moderate intensity.
Simulazione dell'accoppiamento tra assimilazione del carbonio ed accrescimenti in quattro siti forestali "Eddy-Covariance"
Forest management practices might act as nature-based methods to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and slow anthropogenic climate change and thus support an EU forest-based climate change mitigation strategy. However, the extent to which diversified management actions could lead to quantitatively important changes in carbon sequestration and stocking capacity at the tree level remains to be thoroughly assessed. To that end, we used a state-of-the-science bio-geochemically based forest growth model to simulate effects of multiple forest management scenarios on net primary productivity (NPP) and potential carbon woody stocks (pCWS) under twenty scenarios of climate change in a suite of observed and virtual forest stands in temperate and boreal European forests. Previous modelling experiments indicated that the capacity of forests to assimilate and store atmospheric CO2 in woody biomass is already being attained under business-as-usual forest management practices across a range of climate change scenarios. Nevertheless, we find that on the long-term, with increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration and warming, managed forests show both higher productivity capacity and a larger potential pool size of stored carbon than unmanaged forests as long as thinning and tree harvesting are of moderate intensity.

Lab head

Alessio Collalti
Department
  • Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Systems in the Mediterranean
About Alessio Collalti
  • Alessio Collalti has a Master Science Degree in Natural Sciences and a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology. His background concerns Forest Ecology, Carbon, Water and Nitrogen Cycle, Forest and Vegetation Modelling, particularly with regard to vegetation numerical modelling and response under natural and anthropogenic stress, including climate change impacts and forest management scenarios He is the Forest Modelling Lab. head and a senior researcher at CNR.

Members (5)

Elisa Grieco
  • Italian National Research Council
Daniela Dalmonech
  • Italian National Research Council
Paulina Puchi
  • University of Padova
Elia Vangi
  • Italian National Research Council
Vincenzo Saponaro
  • Tuscia University

Alumni (4)

Gaetano Pellicone
  • Italian National Research Council
Sergio Marconi
  • University of Florida
Giulia Mengoli
  • Imperial College London
Corrado Biondo
  • Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici