Rupert Seidl

Rupert Seidl
Technische Universität München | TUM

Professor

About

206
Publications
91,459
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14,730
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Introduction
I study the dynamics of ecosystems and harness an improved understanding of ecological processes for their sustainable management. A specific focus of my work is on the disturbance and resilience of forest ecosystems. I combine different methodological approaches to quantify changes in ecosystems in space and time. Based on these insights I develop management approaches aiming to sustain ecosystem service supply and safeguard the diversity of ecosystems in a changing world.

Publications

Publications (206)
Article
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Given the drastic changes in the environment, resilience is a key focus of ecosystem management. Yet, the quantification of the different dimensions of resilience remains challenging, particularly for long-lived systems such as forests. Here we present an analytical framework to study the economic resilience of different forest management systems,...
Article
Earth's forests harbor extensive biodiversity and are currently a major carbon sink. Forest conservation and restoration can help mitigate climate change; however, climate change could fundamentally imperil forests in many regions and undermine their ability to provide such mitigation. The extent of climate risks facing forests has not been synthes...
Article
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Inter-annual climate variability (hereafter climate variability) is increasing in many forested regions due to climate change. This variability could have larger near-term impacts on forests than decadal shifts in mean climate, but how forests will respond remains poorly resolved, particularly at broad scales. Individual trees, and even forest comm...
Article
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Forest ecosystems are strongly impacted by continuing climate change and increasing disturbance activity, but how forest dynamics will respond remains highly uncertain. Here, we argue that a short time window after disturbance (i.e., a discrete event that disrupts prevailing ecosystem structure and composition and releases resources) is pivotal for...
Article
Forests are one of the most important components of the global carbon cycle. Consequently, forest protection as a nature-based climate solution has garnered increasing interest. Protected areas instated to safeguard biodiversity provide an opportunity to maximize carbon storage in situ, with important co-benefits between conservation and climate ch...
Article
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Climate change alters forest development pathways, with consequences for ecosystem services and biodiversity. As the rate of warming increases, ecosystem change is expected to accelerate. However, ecosystem dynamics can have many causes unrelated to climate (for example, disturbance and stand development legacies). The compound effects of multiple...
Article
Growing interest in ecosystem restoration has recently turned the focus on tree planting, one of the most widely used restoration tools globally. Here, we study the restoration potential of tree planting in a cool‐temperate forest in Shiretoko National Park, northern Japan. We used simulation modeling to investigate the long‐term success of tree pl...
Article
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Observational evidence suggests that forests in the Northern Alps are changing at an increasing rate as a consequence of climate change. Yet, it remains unclear whether the acceleration of forest change will continue in the future, or whether downregulating feedbacks will eventually decouple forest dynamics from climate change. Here we studied futu...
Article
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Forests play a key role in a bio-based economy by providing renewable materials, mitigating climate change, and accommodating biodiversity. However, forests experience massive increases in stresses in their ecological and socioeconomic environments, threatening forest ecosystem services supply. Alleviating those stresses is hampered by conflicting...
Article
Questions Nuclear power is under increasing consideration in many countries because it is a low carbon strategy to satisfy growing energy demands. Yet, the long-term environmental impacts of nuclear accidents remain unclear. Here we asked how ionizing radiation affects tree regeneration and forest development after the Chernobyl nuclear accident. W...
Article
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Natural disturbances are increasing around the globe, also impacting protected areas. Although previous studies have indicated that natural disturbances result in mainly positive effects on biodiversity, these analyses mostly focused on a few well established taxonomic groups, and thus uncertainty remains regarding the comprehensive impact of natur...
Article
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Purpose of the Review The review synthesises the current knowledge of post-windstorm management in selected European countries in order to identify knowledge gaps and guide future research. Recent Findings Despite the differences in forest ownership and national regulations, management experiences in Europe converge at (1) the need for mechanizati...
Article
As temperatures continue rising, the direction, magnitude, and tempo of change in disturbance‐prone forests remain unresolved. Even forests long resilient to stand‐replacing fire face uncertain futures, and efforts to project changes in forest structure and composition are sorely needed to anticipate future forest trajectories. We simulated fire (i...
Article
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Europe was affected by an extreme drought in 2018, compounding with an extensive heat wave in the same and subsequent years. Here we provide a first assessment of the impacts this compounding event had on forest disturbance regimes in Europe. We find that the 2018 drought caused unprecedented levels of forest disturbance across large parts of Europ...
Article
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The amount of carbon stored in deadwood is equivalent to about 8 per cent of the global forest carbon stocks1. The decomposition of deadwood is largely governed by climate2–5 with decomposer groups—such as microorganisms and insects—contributing to variations in the decomposition rates2,6,7. At the global scale, the contribution of insects to the d...
Article
Disturbances have increased in Central Europe's forests, but whether changes in disturbance regimes are driven by natural or human causes remains unclear. Satellite-based remote sensing provides an important data source for quantifying forest disturbance change. Separating causes of forest disturbance is challenging, however, particularly in areas...
Article
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Purpose of Review Outbreaks of tree-killing bark beetles have reached unprecedented levels in conifer forests in the northern hemisphere and are expected to further intensify due to climate change. In parts of Europe, bark beetle outbreaks and efforts to manage them have even triggered social unrests and political instability. These events have inc...
Article
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Aim Forest ecosystems around the globe are facing increasing natural and human disturbances. Increasing disturbances can challenge forest resilience, that is, the capacity of forests to sustain their functions and services in the face of disturbance. Quantifying resilience across large spatial extents remains challenging, as it requires the assessm...
Chapter
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As protective forests have a major control function on runoff and erosion, they directly affect the risk from hydrogeomorphic processes such as sediment transport processes or debris flows. In this context, future scenarios of climate-related canopy disturbances and their influence on the protective effect remain, however, an unsolved problem. With...
Article
Restoring forests has recently received considerable attention in the context of sequestering carbon and supporting biodiversity. Although considering alien species as a tool for natural forest restoration still remains controversial, harnessing alien species when they are already present in an ecosystem might result in overall benefits for nature...
Article
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Human land use is fragmenting forests around the globe, increasing the edge density in forest landscapes. More frequent natural disturbances also increase the presence of edges in forest ecosystems. Studying a mountain landscape in the Eastern Alps, we contrasted 661 plots situated at varying distances from a stand edge with 615 plots sampled in fo...
Article
High conservation value forests (HCVF) are critically important for biodiversity and ecosystem service provisioning, but face manifold threats. Where systematic HCVF inventories are missing, such as in parts of Eastern Europe, these forests remain largely unacknowledged and therefore often unprotected. Here, we propose a novel, transferable approac...
Article
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Changing climate and disturbance regimes are increasingly challenging the resilience of forest ecosystems around the globe. A powerful indicator for the loss of resilience is regeneration failure, that is, the inability of the prevailing tree species to regenerate after disturbance. Regeneration failure can result from the interplay among disturban...
Article
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Questions Primary forests fulfil important roles in preserving biodiversity, storing carbon and increasing ecological understanding. Yet, they have become very rare in Europe. An important policy goal is thus to increase the share of naturally developing forests by creating protected areas in formerly managed forests. Here, we investigated (1) if a...
Article
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The global impacts of biodiversity loss and climate change are interlinked, but the feedbacks between them are rarely assessed. Areas with greater tree diversity tend to be more productive, providing a greater carbon sink, and biodiversity loss could reduce these natural carbon sinks. Here, we quantify how tree and shrub species richness could affe...
Article
Single species forest systems often suffer from low resistance and resilience to perturbations. Consequently, fostering tree species diversity is discussed as an important management approach to address the impacts of changing climate and disturbance regimes. Yet, the effect of the spatial grain of tree species mixtures remains unknown. We asked wh...
Preprint
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Europe was affected by an extreme drought in 2018, compounding with an extensive heatwave in the same and subsequent years. Here we provide a first rapid assessment of the impacts this compounding event had on forest disturbance regimes in Europe. We find that the 2018 drought has caused unprecedented levels of forest disturbance across large parts...
Article
Abiotic forest disturbances are an important driver of ecosystem dynamics. In Europe, storms and fires have been identified as the most important abiotic disturbances in the recent past. Yet, how strongly these agents drive local disturbance regimes compared to other agents (e.g., biotic, human) remains unresolved. Furthermore, whether storms and f...
Article
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Increasing tree mortality can have pervasive impacts on forest dynamics. Yet, large-scale trends in tree mortality and their effects on forest demography remain poorly quantified despite the important role of forest demography for forest carbon pools and biodiversity. Analyzing satellite data at 19,896 plots, we here show that canopy mortality in 3...
Article
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Ceccherini et al.1 reported an abrupt increase in harvested forest—in terms of both biomass and area—in Europe from 2016, and suggested that this reflected expanding wood markets encouraged by the bioec- onomy policies of the European Union (EU). They used Global Forest Watch2 and GlobBiomass3 data together with an analysis that sought to remove na...
Article
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Changing forest disturbance regimes pose a major challenge for current day forestry. Yet our understanding of the economic impacts of disturbances remains incomplete. Existing valuations of losses from natural disturbances commonly exclude extreme events and neglect impacts on standing timber. Here we develop a new methodology to assess the economi...
Article
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Mountain forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration and protection from natural hazards. Forest cover in the European Alps has increased over the last century, but in recent years, these forests have experienced an increasing rate of natural disturbances by agents such as windthrow, bark beetle outbreaks, and...
Article
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00690-x.
Article
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Context Fire in forested wildland urban interface (WUI) landscapes is increasing throughout the western United States. Spatial patterns of fuels treatments affect fire behavior, but it is unclear how fire risk and fuel treatment effectiveness will change under future conditions. Objectives (1) How do area burned, forest and fuel characteristics, a...
Article
Protected areas worldwide are important to maintaining biodiversity and providing recreational opportunities to society. However, many protected areas are affected by unprecedented, large and severe natural disturbances, like bark beetle outbreaks. Due to the contrasting responses of different taxonomic groups to disturbance events and largely nega...
Article
Forest disturbance regimes are changing around the globe. Of particular concern are biotic disturbance agents, as they respond strongly to climate warming and invade new ecosystems as alien pests and pathogens. To date, biotic disturbances are either ignored in simulations of vegetation dynamics or only a small number of common agents are considere...
Article
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Changes in forest disturbances can have strong impacts on forests, yet we lack consistent data on Europe’s forest disturbance regimes and their changes over time. Here we used satellite data to map three decades of forest disturbances across continental Europe, and analysed the patterns and trends in disturbance size, frequency and severity. Betwee...
Article
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Pulses of tree mortality caused by drought have been reported recently in forests around the globe, but large-scale quantitative evidence is lacking for Europe. Analyzing high-resolution annual satellite-based canopy mortality maps from 1987 to 2016 we here show that excess forest mortality (i.e., canopy mortality exceeding the long-term mortality...
Article
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Aim Simulation models are important tools for quantifying the resilience (i.e., persistence under changed environmental conditions) of forest ecosystems to global change. We synthesized the modelling literature on forest resilience, summarizing common models and applications in resilience research, and scrutinizing the implementation of important r...
Chapter
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We present different definitions of forest resilience and discuss how this concept can be used to guide forest management under a changing climate. Forest resilience can be seen as an overarching concept of nested hierarchies, with engineering resilience being nested inside ecological resilience, which in turn is nested inside social-ecological res...
Article
Functional diversity (FD), represented by plant traits, is fundamentally linked to an ecosystem's capacity to respond to environmental change. Yet, little is known about the spatial distribution of FD and its drivers. These knowledge gaps prevent the development of FD-based forest management approaches to increase the trait diversity insurance (i.e...
Technical Report
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Evropské lesy poskytovaly lidské společnosti po staletí mnohé ekosystémové služby a generovaly značné ekonomické hodnoty. Některé z těchto benefitů jsou stále více ohrožovány změnou klimatu, která znásobuje vliv různých disturbančních činitelů, jako jsou např. kůrovci. Zranitelnost evropských lesů nepříznivě ovlivnil i jejich dlouhodobý management....
Article
More frequent and severe disturbances increasingly open the forest canopy and initiate tree regeneration. Simultaneously, increasing weather extremes, such as drought and heat, are threatening species adapted to cool and moist climate. The magnitude of the microclimatic buffering capacity of forest canopies to mitigate hot and dry weather condition...
Article
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ContextStructural diversity strongly influences habitat quality and the functioning of forest ecosystems. An important driver of the variation in forest structures are disturbances. As disturbances are increasing in many forest ecosystems around the globe, it is important to understand how structural diversity responds to (changing) disturbances.Ob...
Article
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Bark beetle outbreaks have intensified in many forests around the globe in recent years. Yet, the legacy of these disturbances for future forest development remains unclear. Bark beetle disturbances are expected to increase further because of climate change. Consequently, feedbacks within the disturbance regime are of growing interest, for example,...
Article
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Projections of landscape dynamics are uncertain, partly due to uncertainties in model formulations. However, quantitative comparative analyses of forest landscape models are lacking. We conducted a systematic comparison of all forest landscape models currently applied in temperate European forests (LandClim, TreeMig, LANDIS-II, iLand). We examined...
Article
Forest disturbance regimes are intensifying in many parts of the globe. In order to mitigate disturbance impacts a number of management responses have been proposed, yet their effectiveness in addressing changing disturbance regimes remains largely unknown. The strong positive relationship between forest age and the vulnerability to disturbances su...
Article
BACKGROUND: Forest dynamics arise from the interplay of chronic drivers and transient disturbances with the demographic processes of recruitment, growth, and mortality. The resulting trajectories of vegetation development drive the biomass and species composition of terrestrial ecosystems. Forest dynamics are changing because of anthropogenic-drive...
Article
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Purpose of Review Resilience is a key concept to deal with an uncertain future in forestry. In recent years, it has received increasing attention from both research and practice. However, a common understanding of what resilience means in a forestry context and how to operationalise it is lacking. Here, we conducted a systematic review of the recen...
Article
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Forests have an important regulating function on water runoff and the occurrence of shallow landslides. Their structure and composition directly influence the risk of hydrogeomorphic processes, like floods with high sediment transport or debris flows. Climate change is substantially altering forest ecosystems, and for Central Europe an increase in...
Article
Shifting forest dynamics Forest dynamics are the processes of recruitment, growth, death, and turnover of the constituent tree species of the forest community. These processes are driven by disturbances both natural and anthropogenic. McDowell et al. review recent progress in understanding the drivers of forest dynamics and how these are interactin...
Article
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Mountain forests are at particular risk of climate change impacts due to their temperature limitation and high exposure to warming. At the same time, their complex topography may help to buffer the effects of climate change and create climate refugia. Whether climate change can lead to critical transitions of mountain forest ecosystems and whether...
Preprint
Full-text available
Pulses of tree mortality have been reported for many ecosystems across the globe. Yet, large-scale trends in tree mortality remain poorly quantified. Manually analyzing more than 680,000 satellite image chips at 19,896 plot locations, we here show that forest canopy mortality in Europe has continuously increased since 1985 (+1.5 ± 0.28 % yr-1), wit...
Preprint
Full-text available
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 fo...
Article
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Disturbance regimes are changing in forests across the world in response to global climate change. Despite the profound impacts of disturbances on ecosystem services and biodiversity, assessments of disturbances at the global scale remain scarce. Here, we analyzed natural disturbances in boreal and temperate forest ecosystems for the period 2001–20...
Article
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Context Norway spruce (Picea abies) is one of the most widespread tree species in Europe’s forests. Due to its high economic value it has been strongly favored by management, especially at the trailing edge of its natural distribution. However, disturbances from wind and bark beetles are increasingly impacting these forests, and their resilience un...
Article
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ContextThe contribution of forest understory to the temperate forest carbon sink is not well known, increasing the uncertainty in C cycling feedbacks on global climate as estimated by Earth System Models.Objectives We aimed at quantifying the effect of woody and non-woody understory vegetation on net ecosystem production (NEP) for a forested area o...
Article
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Context Recovery from disturbances is a prominent measure of forest ecosystem resilience, with swift recovery indicating resilient systems. The forest ecosystems of Central Europe have recently been affected by unprecedented levels of natural disturbance, yet our understanding of their ability to recover from disturbances is still limited. Objecti...
Article
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Global human population growth, limited space for settlements and a booming tourism industry have led to a strong increase of human infrastructure in mountain regions. As this infrastructure is highly exposed to natural hazards, a main role of mountain forests is to regulate the environment and reduce hazard probability. However, canopy disturbance...
Article
In subalpine forests of the western United States that historically experienced infrequent, high‐severity fire, whether fire management can shape 21st‐century fire regimes and forest dynamics to meet natural resource objectives is not known. Managed wildfire use (i.e., allowing lightning‐ignited fires to burn when risk is low instead of suppressing...
Article
Windfelled Norway spruce (Picea abies) trees play a crucial role in triggering large-scale outbreaks of the European spruce bark beetle Ips typographus. Outbreak management therefore strives to remove windfelled trees to reduce the risk of outbreaks, a measure referred to as sanitation logging (SL). Although this practice has been traditionally app...
Article
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Addressing current global challenges such as biodiversity loss, global change, and increasing demands for ecosystem services requires improved ecological prediction. Recent increases in data availability, process understanding, and computing power are fostering quantitative approaches in ecology. However, flexible methodological frameworks are need...