Ecological history and long-term dynamics of the Boreal forest ecosystem

Project Details


The boreal forest ecosystem of northern Europe has undergone significant changes in composition and structure, and associated
ecological state shifts, over the last few millennia and is destined to do so with the increasing human manipulation of the climate and
ecosystems. Understanding the external factors that have caused these past changes is crucial if we are to develop nature-based forest
conservation and management practices and realistic mitigation strategies for future forest management. The boreal region is uniquely
rich in spatially and temporally precise records of pollen, charcoal and tree-rings, which can be used to explore the responses of the
ecosystem to past climatic and other external environmental changes. In addition, in Finland the historical forestry records provide an
invaluable but unexamined forest-ecological archive. “Ecological history and long-term dynamics of the boreal forest ecosystem
(EBOR)” aims to utilize these various long-term records to explore the dynamics of the boreal forest during the last three millennia. The
EBOR brings together three research teams that represent expertise in forest-ecological, palaeoecological and statistical research,
focusing on long-term forest ecosystem studies, the use proxy data in palaeoecology and palaeoclimatology, and the applications of
novel statistical approaches in palaeoclimate research. In particular, the EBOR is a combination of scientists who work on different
spatial and temporal scales of the boreal forest ecosystem change and who use different but complementary methods to study past
vegetation and fire regime changes. The combination of views across various temporal and spatial scales and the integration of forest
ecological and palaeoecological methods with novel mathematical techniques distinguish the EBOR from the mainstream of research
groups in the field, and creates a complementary and interdisciplinary structure that holds potential to investigate the forest ecosystem
changes under changing climatic forcings and natural disturbance conditions during the last three millennia, the extent humans have
influenced the boreal forest composition and structure since the shift from hunter-gather population to agriculture roughly 2500 years
ago, and the climatic sensitivity and ecological history of the modern old-growth forests, key habitats in nature conservation in northern
Effective start/end date01/09/201431/08/2018

Fields of Science

  • 1172 Environmental sciences
  • Boreal biome, conifers, fire, disturbance, biomass
  • Climate change
  • forest ecology

Research Output

At What Scales and Why Does Forest Structure Vary in Naturally Dynamic Boreal Forests? An Analysis of Forest Landscapes on Two Continents

Kulha, N. A., Pasanen, L., Holmström, L., Grandpre, L. D., Kuuluvainen, T. T. & Aakala, T., Jun 2019, In : Ecosystems. 22, 4, p. 709-724 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access