Comparing effects of tree species richness and composition on forest structure and ecosystem functions in Boreal Forests

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Holloway University of London
Department Name: Biological Sciences


Forests provide many ecosystem services, but forest management often results in a reduction in tree species and genetic diversity which can negatively affect ecosystem functioning and services. Boreal forest are relatively tree species poor, compared to other forest types, and the impact of losing a single tree species is expected to significantly reduce ecosystem functions and structural diversity. A better understanding of the effects of reduced tree species and genetic diversity on ecosystem functions and the underlying mechanisms is needed in order to determine impacts on ecosystem services and structure in boreal forests.
This project will examine the impact of tree species and genetic diversity on canopy structural diversity and several ecosystem services: above-ground biomass storage, edible fruit production and understory plant species diversity. The study will use long-term forest diversity experiments in Finland, with plots of varying tree species diversity and tree genetic diversity established over 20 years. Using field-based measures, terrestrial laser scanners, and unmanned aerial vehicles, canopy structure will be measured to explore how it is affected by changes in tree species and genetic diversity and to determine its impact on understorey plant diversity, above-ground biomass, and edible berry production.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/S007229/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2027
2083854 Studentship NE/S007229/1 01/10/2018 30/12/2022 Amanda Cooper
NE/W502947/1 01/04/2021 31/03/2022
2083854 Studentship NE/W502947/1 01/10/2018 30/12/2022 Amanda Cooper