OPERATING INSTITUTE: Bundesfor-schungs und Ausbildungszentrum für Wald, Naturgefahren und Landschaft. Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape (BFW).

MAIN PURPOSE: Biodiversity, pollution, soil science, GHG.

ECOSYSTEM TYPE: Beech forest.

EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENTS: N-fertilization (6 plots at 5x5m) and tree girdling (3 plots girdled in 2006; 3 plots girdled in 2008 at 20x20m).

LOCALISATION: 48.168816890563406 16.198196411132812

FACILITIES: Klausenleopoldsdorf site offers meteorological data measured with standard meteorological devices (PAR, wind direction, wind speed, air humidity, air temperature, precipitation, rainfall chemical analysis -NO2-, NO3-, NH4+, DOC- and global radiation). It also provides soil temperature and soil moisture sensors at various soil depths; and allows measu-rements such as litterfall, throughfall, stemflow, wet deposition, soil solution at 3 soil depths, site and soil characteristics, forest growth and condition, plant and soil biodiversity, DNA and PLFA analysis of mineral soil, enzyme activity, extensive soil fauna inventory, sapflow, GHG fluxes (N2O, CH4, CO2) plus ozone and NOx, 15N minera-lization, 15N nitrification, soil chemistry, litterfall involving metagenomics and prote-omics and litter decomposition, stochio-metry effects and carbon turnover.
The available laboratory devices are N2 measurement system, soil GHG parameteri-zation (Schaufler et al., 2010, EJSS), and PLFA (microbial community composition) analysis. The site was part of several EU funded projects (NOFRETETE and NITRO-EUROPE) and various national projects.
Recent developments at the site include:
(1) Replacement of the meteorological station. The data logger was changed (CR10X → CR1000) and new sensors installed (the precipitation sensor was replaced by an automatic precipitation gauge : PLUVIO);
(2) Replacement of all old soil moisture sensors and additional installation of new soil moisture sensors at different soil depths (new soil water sampling pumps were installed and connected to a data logger);
(3) Replacement of dendrometers at 10 beech trees.

CONTACT: B. KITZLER (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

● Kaiser, C., Koranda, M., Kitzler, B., Fuchslueger, L., Schnecker, J., Schweiger, P., Rasche, F., Richter, A. 2010. Belowground carbon allocation by trees drives seasonal patterns of extracellular enzyme activities by altering microbial community composition in a beech forest soil. New Phytologist 187 (3): 843–858.
● Koranda, M., Schnecker, J., Kaiser, C., Fuchslueger, L., Kitzler, B., Stange, C.F., Sessitsch, A., (...), Richter, A. 2011: Microbial processes and community composition in the rhizosphere of European beech - The influence of plant C exudates. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 43 (3): 551–558.


TA PROJECTS: Climate Change impact on tree growth (CC-Imp)

ExpeER TA Site: Hesse, FRANCE; Achenkirch, AUSTRIA; Klausenleopoldsdorf, AUSTRIA; Zöbelboden, AUSTRIA; Hoglwald Forest, GERMANY; Eifel, GERMANY
TA User (visit): Pierluigi Bombi, CNR-IBAF, Italy (March, 2015 – 05 days)
Project Description: Recent Climate Change is recognized as one of the main threat to natural ecosystems (Walther et al., 2002; Parmesan and Yohe, 2003; Root et al., 2003). Climate Change influences several aspects of species biology, such as physiology (e.g. Valentini et al., 2000), phenology (e.g. Peñuelas and Filella, 2001), and distribution (e.g. Kelly and Goulden, 2008). Species range shifts are due to changes in habitat suitability across space, which drive species to move towards those areas where climate continue to fulfill the species niche (Wiens et al., 2009). Species distribution models are often used for predicting future range shifts under climate change scenarios and adapting conservation strategies (Guisan and Zimmermann, 2000).
Nevertheless, the validation of species distribution models is difficult in dynamic scenarios and their real applicability is still debated (e.g. Araújo et al., 2005). In addition, in order to plan effective measures of impact mitigation, an instrument for detecting the real effects of climate change on natural ecosystem is required. We hypothesize that the spatial pattern of dynamic response (as tree growth) to climate change can allow to disentangle multiple effects of different drivers (e.g. habitat alteration, pollution, climate change), providing a key for validating models and monitoring ecosystem dynamics. In particular, in sites close to the front border of a shifting range, the environmental conditions are becoming more suitable than in the past. Therefore, we expect that in these sites tree growth has speeded up during the last years. On the contrary, in sites close to the rear border, the environment is less suitable than in the past and we can expect that tree growth has slowed down during the last years. Similarly, sites far from both front and rear borders are as suitable as in the past and we can expect that tree growth is rather constant. The detection of this spatial pattern of growth trends can confirm the model outcomes and highlight the occurring impact.
The aim of this project is to test our hypothesis and to set up a method for identifying climate change effect on forest ecosystems. To do this, we will use three species (i.e. Abies alba, Picea abies, and Fagus sylvatica) with different distributions and environmental requirements. On the basis of their current distributions, we will predict their range shifts due to climate change and we will verify whether their growth is following our expected spatial pattern. If we will find the expected pattern of growth for the three species, we will obtain at the same time a strong field-based validation for our models and a ring of alarm for European forests impacted by climate change.

Nitrogen gas emissions from contrasting soil environments (NTRAST).

TA User (visit): Jesper Christiansen, University of Copenhagen, DENMARK (April, 2013).
Project Description: This project aims to study the interactive effects of soil hydrology and nitrogen (N) availability on emissions of NO, N2O and N2 from soils across a wide N deposition gradient from the low northern Greenland (Zackenberg) over pacific Canada (Vancouver Island) to the high central Europe (Klausenleopoldsdorf).
Empirical evidence suggest that increased N availability stimulates NO and N2O production. However, we raise the question whether increased availability over a natural gradient of reactive N coupled with a wetter soil environment also shifts denitrification towards relatively higher N2O emissions compared to N2?
We will pursue to answer our question by incubating intact soil cores sampled from similar soil hydrological gradients for each site at the state-of-the facilities at Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape (BFW) where we can directly measure the emission of NO, N2O and N2 under controlled laboratory conditions as well as CH4 and CO2 fluxes. For all soil samples we will also determine central soil chemical attributes, such as extractable N species, pH as well as total organic carbon and nitrogen.
By studying gaseous N emissions across the wide natural N gradient using the system at BFW we will shed new light on how nitrogen availability is related to greenhouse gas emissions from soils ranging from the arctic to temperate ecosystems. Also, we will obtain rare simultaneous estimates of N2, N2O and NO emissions from understudied regions of the northern hemisphere that will represent new knowledge in the field as well as be useful input to modeling.