forests productivity; climate change; soil water reserve; GIS; practical tools
[en] Three reasons have urged the Walloon Forest Administration (Walloon Public Service) on to solicit the help of forest researchers to bring practical responses to the adaptation of its current forests management: (i) the progression of research in applied autecology, (ii) the development of software for the management and the analysis of georeferenced data (GIS technologies) and, (iii) the awareness of the potential negative impacts of climate change on forests.
To answer to this request, this research aims to model the autecology of the main forest tree species at the Walloon Region scale (Beech, Oak, Norway Spruce, Douglas-fir and valuable broadleaves species). The results will be used to update current practical tools to assess the adequacy of forest tree species on sites, especially in the climate change context.
The research is built into three main steps:
• update the autecology knowledge for the targeted forest tree species through a state of the art;
• compile and create different ecological parameters that can explain the major part of trees growth such as climatic, topographic, geologic, edaphic and phytosociological data gathered from forest plots or geodatabases. In the context of climate change, a particular attention will be brought on bioclimatic and soil moisture conditions because of their narrow link with the potential risk of trees ecophysiological stress;
• model tree species reaction to environmental conditions with tree growth indicators. Three types of indicators with different spatio-temporal scales are foreseen: stand site index (30-50 years), periodic diameter growth (5-10 years) and tree-ring growth (1-3 years). The use of these three scales is justified by the interest presented by their cross-validations which are necessary for an accurate extrapolation of results to the entire region.
Results should indicate the tree species behaviour, especially towards stress conditions. The integration of climatic data, provided by global climate models based on IPCC's climate scenarios, in autecological models could be used to assess the behaviour of forest stands in future climate conditions. From those results, we expect to identify and assess accurately the risky “sites-species pairs” to avoid in the context of a sustainable silviculture. Finally, results will be used to provide autecological synthesis and practical tools to help forest managers and foresters to identify the best “site-species pairs” (tree-site adequacy maps, sites catalogue and computer platform).