Project HerbAdapt – Adaptation of understorey herbs to forest management

Basic data

Acronym:
HerbAdapt
Title:
Adaptation of understorey herbs to forest management
Duration:
01/03/2020 to 28/02/2023
Abstract / short description:
Plant adaptation to land use has commonly been studied within the context of managed grassland ecosystems, whereas studies on the adaptation of forest understorey herbs to forest management are lacking. This is surprising because forest management has a strong impact on the forest understorey environment, especially on light and soil moisture conditions, which are likely to exert strong constraints on forest understorey herbs. I predict that this environmental variation acts as divergent selection pressure causing phenotypic trait differentiation and local adaptation of forest understorey herbs to forest management. In my project HerbAdapt I will perform two common garden experiments – one of them including a light and drought treatment – as well as a reciprocal transplant experiment to test this prediction for multiple common forest understorey herbs (four forbs, two grasses) varying in colonization rate. Besides performance and functional traits, I will investigate flowering phenology, because of its correlation with forest management for observational field data. I will correlate phenotypic trait means and trait responses to
experimental treatments, obtained from the common garden experiments, with forest structure and microclimatic variables. With the reciprocal transplant experiment I will explicitly test for adaptation to forest management by adopting an Exploratory-scale transplant design along a management intensity gradient. Concluding, my project will contribute to understanding the impact of forest management on phenotypic trait variation in forest understorey herbs.
Being an important level of biodiversity, phenotypic trait variation in forest understorey herbs forms the basis for adaptation to future changes in forest management and global climate.

Involved staff

Managers

Institute of Evolution and Ecology
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science

Local organizational units

Institute of Evolution and Ecology
Department of Biology
Faculty of Science

Funders

Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
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