I am a forest ecologist interested in understanding how to better manage forests in a future characterized by global changes.
My work aims at studying the dynamics of forest ecosystems to anticipate the potential impacts of climate, disturbance and socio-economic changes. I use ecological simulation models of forest dynamics to explore interactions of trees with their changing environment and to investigate forest management strategies to enhance future resistance and resilience at multiple scales (stand to landscape). I am currently working on combining modelling approaches with functional diversity and network connectivity in fragmented forest landscapes in Eastern North America. I am passionate in dendrology, geography, silviculture, tree-ring research, forest inventory and the ecology of mixed forests. And I love mountains, cross-country skiing and home brewing.
Ph.D. in Forest Ecology, 2015
ETH Zurich, Switzerland
MSc in Forestry and Environmental Science, 2010
University of Padua, Italy
Forests are projected to undergo dramatic compositional and structural shifts prompted by global changes, such as climatic changes and intensifying natural disturbance regimes. Future uncertainty makes planning for forest management exceptionally difficult, demanding novel approaches to maintain or improve the ability of forest ecosystems to respond and rapidly re‐organize after disturbance events. Adopting a landscape perspective in forest management is particularly important in fragmented forest landscapes where both diversity and connectivity play key roles in determining resilience to global change. In this context, network analysis and functional traits combined with ecological dynamic modeling can help evaluate changes in functional response diversity and connectivity within and among forest stands in fragmented landscapes. Here, we coupled ecological dynamic modeling with functional traits analysis and network theory to analyze forested landscapes as an interconnected network of forest patches. We simulated future forest landscape dynamics in a large landscape in southern Quebec, Canada, under a combination of climate, disturbance, and management scenarios. We depicted the landscape as a functional network, assessed changes in future resilience using indicators at multiple spatial scales, and evaluated if current management practices are suitable for maintaining resilience to simulated changes in regimes. Our results show that climate change would promote forest productivity and favor heat‐adapted deciduous species. Changes in natural disturbances will likely have negative impacts on native conifers and will drive changes in forest type composition. Climate change negatively impacted all resilience indicators and triggered losses of functional response diversity and connectivity across the landscape with undesirable consequences on the capacity of these forests to adapt to global change. Also, current management strategies failed to promote resilience at different spatial levels, highlighting the need for a more active and thoughtful approach to forest management under global change. Our study demonstrates the usefulness of combining dynamic landscape scale simulation modeling with network analyses to evaluate the possible impacts of climate change as well as human and natural disturbances on forest resilience under global change.
Mixed species forests can often be more productive and deliver higher levels of ecosystem services and functions than monocultures. However, complementarity effects for any given tree species are difficult to generalize because they can vary greatly along gradients of climatic conditions and resource availability. Identifying the conditions where species diversity can positively influence productivity is crucial. To date, few studies have examined how growth complementarity across species and mixture types is modulated by stand and environmental factors, and fewer have considered more than one or two factors. We investigated how complementarity effects for several major Central European tree species change with climatic and edaphic conditions, and with stand structural characteristics, including species composition. We used data from the Swiss National Forest Inventory, which is based on 3,231 plots of pure and mixed stands (19 mixture types) across a broad environmental gradient, to test (i) how mixing effects change depending on the identity of the admixed species and (ii) if complementarity consistently increases when environmental conditions become harsher. The magnitude, whether positive or negative, of complementarity increased with increasing stand density and stand developmental stage, but no general pattern could be identified across mixture types. Complementarity for many species increased as drought intensity and temperature increased, but not for all species and mixture types. While soil conditions, nitrogen and site topography influenced complementarity for many species, there was no general pattern (increases and decreases were observed). Synthesis . Our study indicates that complementarity varies strongly with stand density and stand development as well as with topographic, climatic and soil conditions. This emphasizes the need to account for site‐dependent conditions when exploring mixture effects in relation to forest productivity. We found that under certain conditions (i.e. increasing drought, higher temperature), mixed forests can promote individual tree growth in Central European temperate forests. However, careful assessments depending on the species composing the stands are required under changing resource availability as well as under different levels of stand density and development.
See my CV for contributions prior 2016