Growing season changes under climate warming – adaptive (genetic) traits of understory, natural regeneration and canopy in spring and autumn

Trends in the onset of spring phenological phases observed over the last 50 years have been related to temperature increase; up to 80% of the phenological onset date can be linked to temperature of the preceding months. In autumn the climate influence is much less clear. In particular, autumn phenology of deciduous trees in mid latitudes cannot be adequately explained by temperature of previous months nor by temperature sums.

In this study we assume that the integration of various climate parameters over the vegetation period, together with genetics, play an important role in triggering the onset and the end of the growing season of deciduous trees.

Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) is a typical forest tree in Germany, therefore we observed beeches within natural forest stands. Selected adult and juvenile beech trees will help to assess the portion of climate and genetics on the phenological behavior. Through analyses of phenological responses the resilience of the species might be estimated.

The beeches at the forest climate station (WKS) in the Kranzberger forest offers a unique possibility to study the impact of environmental parameters and genetic factors in plant life cycles. Ground phenological observations of spring and autumn based on a detailed observational key according to the BBCH code as well as hemispherical photographs will be carried out. A complete genetic analysis of the individual trees is provided by ASP (Bavarian Office for Forest Seeding and Planting at Teisendorf). All this collected information will help to complete the dataset which will be used to identify and scale the specific influences and triggers relevant for phenological onsets.

Contact person:

Renèe Monserrat Capdevielle
Dr. Nicole Estrella
Prof. Dr. Annette Menzel


2010 - 2012