FORKAST: Impact of climate on ecosystems and climatic adaption strategies
FORKAST: Impact of climate change on alpine grassland ecosystems: An in situ climate change experiment in the Ammer catchment area
Subproject 16 investigates the short term impact of climate change (increasing temperature, decreasing precipitation) and extreme events (drought, heavy precipitation) on carbon and nitrogen storage and cycling as well as the total greenhouse gas balance of alpine grasslands. The major goal of the subproject is in particular the identification of climate-change-sensitive biological and pedological sub-processes and parameters of alpine grasslands. In cooperation with other subprojects within the framework of FORKAST TP 4, TP 5, TP 6) detailed process studies will allow to judge the response of the central processes involved in the C and N cycles (i.e. microbial nitrogen turnover, plant nitrogen uptake, nitrogen losses along hydrological pathways, greenhouse gas exchange between soil and atmosphere, net CO2 ecosystem exchange, carbon and nitrogen storage in the system and composition/quality of soil organic matter) to the predicted climate change. The study sites are grasslands located in the Ammer catchment area (TERENO-Climate-Feedback-Station „Ammer“,TERrestrial ENvironmental Observatories) along an altitudinal gradient and consequently along a natural temperature gradient (+ 2.5 °C) and precipitation gradient (- 500 mm). The natural gradients will be used to simulate the biosphere-hydrosphere-atmosphere-exchange processes under climate change. The results of this subproject are vitally important for initiating selective controls on ecosystem development and optimized soil management of alpine grasslands under the influence of the expected climate change. Furthermore, the obtained data are of great importance for the further improvement and validation of process oriented models simulating the changes in carbon and nitrogen storage and biosphere-atmosphere-exchange of trace gases in alpine grasslands under changing climatic conditions.