Thomas Dirnböck

Thomas Dirnböck
Umweltbundesamt, Austria · Ecosystem Research

PhD

About

129
Publications
31,178
Reads
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6,348
Citations
Introduction
Currently works as a senior researcher focusing on the LTER site Zöbelboden in Austria and European-scale studies as well as Long-Term Ecosystem Research (eLTER) and monitoring in forests. Another area of activity is biodiversity trend assessment and scenario development with particular interest in air pollution and climate change effects as well as policy implications (e.g. UNECE Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution, EU NEC Directive)
Additional affiliations
September 2015 - June 2017
Boston University
Position
  • Visiting Scientist
January 2010 - February 2015
University of Vienna
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Applied Biostatistics with R
September 2001 - April 2020
Umweltbundesamt, Austria
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Education
October 1987 - June 1997
University of Vienna
Field of study
  • Biology, Botany

Publications

Publications (129)
Preprint
Full-text available
Ungulate herbivore populations are increasing across Europe with important implications for forest plant communities. Concurrently, atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition continues to eutrophy forests, threatening many rare plant species. These pressures may critically interact to shape biodiversity as in grassland and tundra systems, yet any potentia...
Article
Full-text available
Species turnover is ubiquitous. However, it remains unknown whether certain types of species are consistently gained or lost across different habitats. Here, we analysed the trajectories of 1827 plant species over time intervals of up to 78years at 141sites across mountain summits, forests, and lowland grasslands in Europe. We found, albeit with...
Article
Woody species’ requirements and environmental sensitivity change from seedlings to adults, a process referred to as ontogenetic shift. Such shifts can be increased by climate change. To assess the changes in the difference of temperature experienced by seedlings and adults in the context of climate change, it is essential to have reliable climatic...
Preprint
The direction and magnitude of long-term changes in local plant species richness are highly variable among studies, while species turnover is ubiquitous. However, it is unknown whether the nature of species turnover is idiosyncratic or whether certain types of species are consistently gained or lost across different habitats. To address this questi...
Chapter
In order to analyse and understand ecosystem responses with respect to different environmental challenges a wide range of data is needed. Based on the results of a scientific gap analysis, LTER CWN focuses on a prioritisation of observation parameters completing the existing observation programmes at five LTER sites in Austria. The resulting data n...
Article
Biological communities accumulate a climatic (thermal) debt when their response to warming does not keep up with the warming rate itself. Forest understory plant communities appear to respond particularly slowly to warming, and thus climatic debts are commonly observed in forest under-story plant communities (1, 2). In line with conventional approa...
Article
Canopy structure and composition are important determinants of spatial and temporal variation in forest microcli-mate (1, 2). Accordingly, we inferred the microclimate from macroclimate data and the modulating effect of the canopy layer [figure 1B in Zellweger et al. (3)]. Bertrand et al. (4) used our data to separately analyze the effects of macro...
Article
Full-text available
Excess nitrogen (N) deposition and gaseous N emissions from industrial, domestic, and agricultural sources have led to increased nitrate leaching, the loss of biological diversity, and has affected carbon (C) sequestration in forest ecosystems. Nitrate leaching affects the purity of karst water resources, which contribute around 50% to Austria’s dr...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic emissions of nitrogen (N) and sulphur (S) compounds and their long-range transport have caused widespread negative impacts on different ecosystems. Critical loads (CLs) are deposition thresholds used to describe the sensitivity of ecosystems to atmospheric deposition. The CL methodology has been a key science-based tool for assessing...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity time series reveal global losses and accelerated redistributions of species, but no net loss in local species richness. To better understand how these patterns are linked, we quantify how individual species trajectories scale up to diversity changes using data from 68 vegetation resurvey studies of seminatural forests in Europe. Herb-l...
Article
Climate warming is causing a shift in biological communities in favor of warm-affinity species (i.e., thermophilization). Species responses often lag behind climate warming, but the reasons for such lags remain largely unknown. Here, we analyzed multidecadal understory microclimate dynamics in European forests and show that thermophilization and th...
Article
Full-text available
With climate change the occurrence of summer droughts is expected to increase in Central Europe. This could lead to increased nitrate (NO3⁻) leaching when water scarcity affects the N-uptake capacity of trees and increases soil N availability due to early leaf senescence and higher litter input. In the present study, we used 16 years of ecological...
Article
Full-text available
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
Species distribution models (SDMs) are used to project how suitable ranges of species shift under a warming climate. Conservation management, however, commonly targets habitat types rather than individual species. Such habitat types are often defined by the co-occurrence of a set of characteristic species. Here, we develop a co-occurrence-based ind...
Article
Full-text available
Long-term ecological research (LTER) has a strong foundation in the fields of biogeosciences and ecosystem research with infrastructures established in the nineteenth (e.g., 1891—Plön, Germany; 1840—Rothamsted, England) and twentieth centuries (e.g., 1906—Lunz, Austria; 1925—Trout Lake Station, WI, USA; 1955—Hubbard Brook, NH, USA; 1960—Solling, Ge...
Article
Full-text available
Context Varying altitudes and aspects within small distances are typically found in mountainous areas. Such a complex topography complicates the accurate quantification of forest C dynamics at larger scales. Objectives We determined the effects of altitude and aspect on forest C cycling in a typical, mountainous catchment in the Northern Limestone...
Article
Full-text available
Atmospheric nitrogen (N) pollution is considered responsible for a substantial decline in plant species richness and for altered community structures in terrestrial habitats worldwide. Nitrogen affects habitats through direct toxicity, soil acidification, and in particular by favoring fast-growing species. Pressure from N pollution is decreasing in...
Article
Climate change and nitrogen (N) deposition are among the most important drivers of biodiversity change at a global scale. Although commonly considered separately in applied research, conservation, and policy development, both empirical evidence and modelling studies indicate that these two stressors may act synergistically and trigger a more pronou...
Article
Average nitrogen (N) deposition across Europe has declined since the 1990s. This resulted in decreased N inputs to forest ecosystems especially in Central and Western Europe where deposition levels are highest. While the impact of atmospheric N deposition on forests has been receiving much attention for decades, ecosystem responses to the decline i...
Article
Understorey communities can dominate forest plant diversity and strongly affect forest ecosystem structure and function. Understoreys often respond sensitively but inconsistently to drivers of ecological change, including nitrogen (N) deposition. Nitrogen deposition effects, reflected in the concept of critical loads, vary greatly not only among sp...
Article
The international Long-Term Ecological Research Network (ILTER) encompasses hundreds of long-term research/monitoring sites located in a wide array of ecosystems that can help us understand environmental change across the globe. We evaluated long-term trends (1990–2015) for bulk deposition, throughfall and runoff water chemistry and fluxes, and cli...
Article
Current climate warming is expected to continue in coming decades, whereas high N deposition may stabilize, in contrast to the clear decrease in S deposition. These pressures have distinctive regional patterns and their resulting impact on soil conditions is modified by local site characteristics. We have applied the VSD+ soil dynamic model to stud...
Article
The contemporary state of functional traits and species richness in plant communities depends on legacy effects of past disturbances. Whether temporal responses of community properties to current environmental changes are altered by such legacies is, however, unknown. We expect global environmental changes to interact with land-use legacies given d...
Article
Full-text available
AimsSlow or failed tree regeneration after forest disturbance is increasingly observed in the central European Alps, potentially amplifying the carbon (C) loss from disturbance. We aimed at quantifying C dynamics of a poorly regenerating disturbance site with a special focus on the role of non-woody ground vegetation. Methods Soil CO2 efflux, fine...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change and excess deposition of airborne nitrogen (N) are among the main stressors to floristic biodiversity. One particular concern is the deterioration of valuable habitats such as those protected under the European Habitat Directive. In future, climate-driven shifts (and losses) in the species potential distribution, but also N driven nu...
Data
Site- and scenario-specific effects of climate change and N deposition. (PDF)
Data
List of all distinctive plant species for the study sites. (PDF)
Data
Methods used for soil and climate input data for VSD+. (PDF)
Data
Future changes at the site level. (PDF)
Data
Methods and results for forest growth. (PDF)
Data
Future changes in the occurrence probability of plant species. (PDF)
Article
Full-text available
Nitrogen (N) cycle processes in terrestrial ecosystems are highly sensitive to temperature and soil moisture variations. Thus, future climate change may affect the degree to which N deposited from the atmosphere will be retained in forest ecosystems. We evaluated the effect of future changes in climate and N deposition on ecosystem N cycling using...
Article
Empirical evidence based on integrated environmental monitoring including physical, chemical and biological variables is essential for evaluating the ecosystem benefits of costly emission reduction policies. The international multidisciplinary ICP IM (International Cooperative Programme on Integrated Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Ecosystem...
Article
Full-text available
Human-induced changes of the environment and their possible impacts on temperate forest understory plant communities have been examined in many studies. However, the relative contribution of individual environmental factors to these changes in the herb layer is still unclear. In this study, we used vegetation survey data covering a time period of 2...
Article
Full-text available
More and more ecologists have started to resurvey communities sampled in earlier decades to determine long-term shifts in community composition and infer the likely drivers of the ecological changes observed. However, to assess the relative importance of and interactions among multiple drivers, joint analyses of resurvey data from many regions span...
Article
Full-text available
Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) is an inter- and transdisciplinary research field addressing socio-ecological change over time at various spatial and temporal scales. In the Austrian Eisenwurzen region, an LTSER platform was founded in 2004. It has fostered and documented research projects aiming at advancing LTSER scientifically and at...
Article
Aim Reports on recent changes in high‐mountain vegetation are mostly based on re‐surveys of mountaintop floras. Summits are very specific habitats, however, and detected trends may not necessarily represent alpine vegetation in general. Here, we analyse re‐samples of three prevalent plant communities in non‐summit alpine habitats (snowbeds, two gra...
Article
Full-text available
1. The ongoing changes to climate challenge the conservation of forest biodiversity. Yet, in thermally limited systems, such as temperate forests, not all species groups might be affected negatively. Furthermore, simultaneous changes in the disturbance regime have the potential to mitigate climate-related impacts on forest species. Here, we (i) inv...
Article
Full-text available
Karst systems are important for drinking water supply. Future climate projections indicate increasing temperature and a higher frequency of strong weather events. Both will influence the availability and quality of water provided from karst regions. Forest disturbances such as windthrow can disrupt ecosystem cycles and cause pronounced nutrient los...
Article
Forest management and climate change, directly or indirectly, affect drinking water resources, both in terms of quality and quantity. In this study in the Northern Limestone Alps in Austria we have chosen model calculations (LandscapeDNDC) in order to resolve the complex long-term interactions of management and climate change and their effect on ni...
Article
Forest management and climate change, directly or indirectly, affect drinking water resources, both in terms of quality and quantity. In this study in the Northern Limestone Alps in Austria we have chosen model calculations (LandscapeDNDC) in order to resolve the complex long-term interactions of management and climate change and their effect on ni...
Article
Full-text available
Global biodiversity is affected by numerous environmental drivers. Yet, the extent to which global environmental changes contribute to changes in local diversity is poorly understood. We investigated biodiversity changes in a meta-analysis of 39 resurvey studies in European temperate forests (3988 vegetation records in total, 17-75 years between th...
Article
Full-text available
Karst systems are important for drinking water supply. Future climate projections indicate increasing temperature and a higher frequency of strong weather events. Both will influence the availability and quality of water provided from karst regions. Forest disturbances such as windthrow can disrupt ecosystem cycles and cause pronounced nutrient los...
Article
In central European mountain forests, bark beetle abatement measures implemented after wind and bark beetle disturbances represent a well-defined disturbance regime. We used a biometric approach extended by soil CO2 efflux measurements to study the effects of disturbance-induced stand patchiness on the net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of a mature N...
Chapter
The BERN (Bioindication for Ecosystem Regeneration towards Natural conditions) model was designed to integrate empirical ecological cause-effect relationships into environmental assessment studies including the derivation of critical loads. Plant species in a natural or semi-natural ecosystem adapted to essential nutrients, water supply and climate...
Article
Full-text available
Tree-ring stable isotopes, providing insight into drought-induced eco-physiological mechanisms, are frequently used to reconstruct past changes in growing season temperature and precipitation. Their climatic response is, however, still not fully understood, particularly for data originating from non-extreme, mid-latitude environments with differing...