High-latitude climate is strongly changing. How is high-latitude vegetation responding and how it will contribute to this change? We need spatially and thematically detailed investigations across the Northern treeline ecotone to understand the response to climate warming and other disturbances, for example wildfires. 

The key regions for our research are representative for the Arctic treeline, covering treeless tundra, single-tree stands, and open forests, and the transition from summergreen larches to evergreen needle-leafed taiga. Focusing on northeast Siberia and Central to South Yakutia, we address the following research questions:

  • How is high-latitude vegetation responding to past climate changes and current global change? 
  • How strong are climate-vegetation feedbacks, and what can we expect from changes in the upcoming decades? 
  • Why is northern Asia dominated by summergreen boreal forests? 
  • How will the larch forests change in the future, and under human impact? 
  • What are the key processes that determine the vegetation trajectories? 
  • What are the consequences of changing vegetation communities on permafrost, biomass, carbon storage, and economics? 

Our approaches contain pollen analyses, vegetation surveys, remote sensing, and, genetic analyses of recent (SSR, SNP, whole genomes) and ancient (sedaDNA) material. We designed our individual-based vegetation model LAVESI based on these information and project future performances and timing of treeline dynamics. Furthermore, vegetation change is detected with remote sensing studies. High spatial resolution investigation is needed to assess biomass, density and structure, thus, we develop innovative validation methods for the tundra-taiga ecotone.

  • LAVESI vegetation model simulations will reveal the structure and dynamics of past, nowadays and future forest stands, with the individual-based and spatially explicit simulation model LAVESI 
  • Remote sensing provides the spatial distribution and bio-physical quantities of land cover and water bodies 
  • Genetics and palaeogenetics and pollen provide the biodiversity and the Land Cover Change through time