Work Packages

smallFOREST will build on the already available METAFOR database, which contains data about vascular plant species and site descriptors in 14 of the 16 landscape windows. This database has been built within the framework of the METAFOR research project by the FLEUR network. smallFOREST will complement these data with new baseline data collection in the remaining two landscape windows and with quantitative data on a set of ES, which will be added to the existing database.

There have been several efforts to classify ES. ES are innately linked to social systems and social decisions, and therefore, the decision context for utilizing ES research is also crucial for mobilizing the ES concept. Here, the decision context is how to manage a given landscape for the provision of ES across scales. Therefore, ES categories that describe the spatial relationships between service production and where the benefits are realized will be used: In situ services (WP2); local proximal services (WP3); global, non-proximal services (WP4); user movement related (WP5). As directional flow related ES are less relevant in our case study, they will be only qualitatively characterized when present.

In smallFOREST, we will identify, investigate and value a set of key ES. These key ES will be intensively (i.e. quantitative approaches) and exhaustively (i.e. all patches of all landscape windows) assessed during dedicated field surveys. This method will allow us to establish links between biodiversity and ES at the patch, window and regional scales.

smallFOREST will include 6 work packages:

WP1: Landscape window and forest patch characterization & data management

       – Building and managing a geodatabase
       – Multiscalar ecological and biogeographic characterization of patches and landscape windows

WP1 will be led by the UPJV team, which includes a geographic historian (J. Buridant), a social geographer (F. Roulier), a SIG engineer (E. Gallet-Moron), a landscape ecologist (O. Chabrerie), and two forest ecologists (G. Decocq & D. Closset-Kopp). This team already manages the FLEUR-METAFOR database and has a great experience in cross-disciplinary research using large databases consisting of mixed data (spatial, temporal, ecological, social, etc.).

WP2: Forest biodiversity characterization & in situ service quantification

        – Description of the taxonomic, functional and structural diversity
        – Quantification of in situ ES: quantification of stem wood, quantification of nutrient availability, quantification of tick abundance and infection prevalence for tick-borne diseases

WP2 will be led by University of Freiburg, which has a long tradition in forest ecology, both at the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Sciences (Prof. Bauhus, Dr. Gärtner) and the Faculty of Biology (Prof. Scherer-Lorenzen). A special focus of this team is related to functional biodiversity research, aiming to elucidate the significance of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning and the delivery of ES. The involved researchers have participated or led many national and international projects and they are well anchored in a large international research network. M. Scherer-Lorenzen is coordinating the EU-Framework VII project FunDivEUROPE (Functional significance of forest biodiversity in Europe), which will be tightly linked to smallFOREST.

WP3: Quantification of local proximal services

The goal is to quantify pest regulation services provided by forest patches, focusing on beneficial insects originating from forest patches and controlling pest populations in adjacent crops.

        – Malacophagous carabid distribution
        – Measure of predation efficiency

WP3 will be led by INRA Toulouse, as taxonomy, life traits and sampling methods of carabids are well known by the team who has already coordinated several large-scale studies with this taxonomic group, including two PhD on carabid and slugs (Piotr Bursztyka and Anthony Roume). Hervé Jactel has long experience in the functional significance of forest diversity for pest regulation and has worked on ecological mechanisms explaining associational resistance to herbivores.

WP4: Quantification of global, non-proximal services

The aim of WP4 is to estimate the stock of C sequestered above and below ground in all the forest patches in the 16 landscape windows and relate C to the functional and structural biodiversity (WP2) and other ES at the same sites (WP3, 5). Tree community composition and functional diversity (WP2) will be considered as possible drivers of forest capacity to sequester C. Recent analyses of forest inventory data have demonstrated that mixed forests may produce more biomass ha-1 yr-1 than monoculture of trees, which would indicate that diverse mixtures including mainly hardwood species should have beneficial effects on aboveground C sequestration via C contents. The outcome of WP4 will help to design smaller forest fragments embedded in larger agricultural landscapes with an improved ability to mitigate climate change effects via higher C storage.

        – Quantification of C stocks in tree biomass
        – Quantification of C stocks in soils

WP4 will be led by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute. IVL has over 30 years tradition in forest ecosystem research, soil science and the provision of environmental services from forests. The IVL team is headed by forest ecologist Dr. K.Hansen and biogeochemist and modeller Dr. Filip Moldan. The involved researchers at IVL have participated or led many national and international projects and programmes on forest ecology including cross-disciplinary research projects and they are well anchored in a large international research network.

WP5: Economic and social valuation

The objective of WP5 is to estimate the total economic value (direct use + indirect use value) and perceived, social value (cognitive mapping) of the forest patches in the sixteen landscape windows.

        – Socio-economical valuation
        – Cognitive mapping

WP5 will be led by the Catalonian Forest Technology Centre (CTFC), in close collaboration with the Mediterranean Regional (EFIMED) office of the European Forest Institute. Over the past years, both partners have gained numerous experiences in valuation of ES in national and international research and development projects in Europe and North Africa.

WP6: Synthesis and transfer to end-users

The first goal of WP6 is to integrate the different data and information streams to perform the general scientific synthesis of smallFOREST. To achieve this goal, WP6 will synthesize and analyze the data in a general biodiversity-ES framework, explicitly focusing on the multifunctionality aspect: it has been shown that higher levels of biodiversity are needed to maintain high rates of several functions and services simultaneously. The second goal of WP6 is to establish the relationships between the ecological, economic and social values of the forest patches in the 16 landscape windows and link this with past, present and future policy instruments.

        – Meta-analysis of biodiversity effects on ES
        – Policy instruments affecting biodiversity and ES

        – Integrating biodiversity and ES to improve policies

WP6 will be coordinated by the UPJV, to which belongs the Coordinator of smallFOREST, as this team has a long experience in cross-disciplinary, integrated research. Moreover, local experts in policy, economic and management sciences are available and will contribute to the working group. WP6 inherently involves participants from all other WPs.