TracEve - Tracing the evergreen broad-leaved species and their spread

Broad-leaved forests are one of the most widespread forest ecosystems in Europe, and a considerable proportion of those consist of evergreen tree and shrub species. In the course of climate change and changes in forest management, the current distribution of evergreen broad-leaved species has changed significantly. In the TracEve project (Tracing the evergreen broad-leaved species and their spread), the current distribution and the historical spread in selected parts of southern Europe are mapped in order to model potential future distribution areas. In the course of ongoing global warming, it can be assumed that the distribution area will shift further north in the future. The past and current distribution is examined using archived and newly collected vegetation plots in representative protected areas and spatially and temporal mapped using remote sensing time series data and automated information extraction and classification by machine and deep learning approaches. These results contribute to a better understanding of the spatial and temporal distribution of evergreen broad-leaved woody species. On this basis, models for the potential distribution areas of evergreen broad-leaved species will be transferred to Central Europe and the Southern Alps, into which they could expand in the future. The findings of TracEve provide the basis for a better analysis and understanding of biome shifts, derivation of scenarios in order to be able to react to the current biodiversity crisis from the point of view of the importance of remnant forest ecosystems for nature conservation in Europe.

Project duration: 01.03.2023 - 28.02.2026

Core team

Martin Rutzinger (PI, Universität Innsbruck)

Stefan Zerbe (PI, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano)

Nicola Alessi (Technologist, Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research)

Alessandro Bricca (Postdoc, Free University of Bozen)

Gianmaria Bonari (Jun.-Prof., Free University of Bozen)

Giacomo Calvia (Postdoc, Free University of Bozen)

Benedikt Hiebl (PhD student, Universität Innsbruck)

Scientific Advisory Board

Alessandro Chiarucci (University of Bologna)

Wouter Dorigo (Technische Universität Wien)

Francesco Maria Sabatini (University of Bologna)

Michele Di Musciano (University of L’Aquila)

Andrew Skidmore (University of Twente)

Zhu Xiaoxiang (Technical University of Munich)


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