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Climate adaptations for forest biodiversity: identifying refugia for retreating cold-favouring species

PhD-student: Jonathon Winnel

Summary from the applicaton:


A daunting task in the face of climate change is to mitigate negative effects on biodiversity. Northern cold-favoured species are threatened towards their southern geographical range margins. One important challenge is to identify and protect the places within the forest landscape where populations of these species currently occur and can be maintained. However, important knowledge gaps hamper an effective implementation of this potentially effective climate adaptation tool across. The overarching aim of the project is to understand the premises for such places, denoted “climate refugia”. We will address the following thee questions in separate but interlinked work packages (WP1-3): (i) How are cold-favoured species distributed in relation to microclimate gradients? (ii) Under what conditions do southern expanding species reduce the potential of existing protected areas to function as climate refugia? and (iii) Could community climate preferences be used to identify sites which can serve as climate refugia? Taking advantage of recent developments in remote sensing technology and miniature data loggers for measuring microclimate we will combine studies over large geographical scales with field studies and experiments. These kinds of studies are called experimental macroecology. The project will provide a solid knowledge-base for how to use climate refugia as a tool for climate adaptation of biodiversity conservation across forest landscapes, which will be synthesized (in WP4).


PI and main supervisor:

Kristoffer Hylander, Department of Ecology, Environment, and Plant sciences, Stockholm University



Johan Ehrlén (DEEP, SU), Caroline Greiser (Physical Geography, SU), Jonathan Lenoir (Jules Verne University of Picardy, France)

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