Project: Feedbacks between Biodiversity and Climate

Acronym FeedBaCks (Reference Number: BiodivClim-597)
Duration 01/03/2021 - 29/02/2024
Project Topic Terrestrial ecosystems, through the cycling of energy, water, elements, and trace gases, are important determinants of climate. While impacts of climate on biodiversity has been extensively studied, little is known about the effects of biodiversity on climate and to what degree this feedback can mitigate or increase the degree to which climate is shifting. Here, we set a specific focus on the feedback of biodiversity to the climate and to nature’s contributions to people. This will allow for a better understanding of the cascading effects and feedback loops of global environmental change. A major limitation for solving this issue is the fact that climate or earth system models use a very simple parametrization scheme of biodiversity to date. These schemes only differentiate between very broad vegetation categories, such as broadleaved and needle leaved forest or plant functional types. Such a simple classification of the functional diversity is not capable of well representing the processes relevant to address biodiversity feedbacks to the atmosphere. In this project, we will use two dynamic vegetation models DVMs; FATE-HD and LPJ-Guess, in combination with two climate models: COSMO-CLM2 and CHELSA to create coupled biodiversity-climate scenarios for the historical period and for two emission scenarios (rcp2.6, rcp8.5). The problem of limited vegetation classes will be overcome by calculating biodiversity and vegetation processes and effects at a much finer scale than is calculated for climate. We apply a fine scale classification of vegetation (EUNIS) and additionally parameterize biodiversity and functional trait diversity. Biodiversity effects on the climate in these models will be parametrized by 1) integrating vegetation databases (sPlot and the European Vegetation Archive, EVA) in combination with remotely sensed data from Sentinel and Landsat and downscaled climate data from COSMO-CLM2. The information from these vegetation databases will also be used to run the DVMs at unprecedented spatial detail (100m across the Alps, 5km across Europe). Aggregating this information to the climate model scale (12 km) will then allow the DVMs to provide information back to the COSMO-CLM2 through a calibration process by which physico-structural and biogeochemical properties are passed to the climate model. The effect of biodiversity on climate will then be investigated by either excluding specific biodiversity relevant variables or randomizing them in the model. This will allow us to quantify their effect on the entire ecosystem–climate system across entire Europe for the past and the future. Furthermore, the information from the detected biodiversity–climate feedbacks will directly be linked to Nature’s contribution to people using an ecosystem services framework. By this will help to better mitigate climate change effects and to better communicate biodiversity–climate feedbacks for climate-smart biodiversity and NCP management to stakeholders.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The overall objective of this research is to investigate biodiversity-climate feedbacks by creating an integrated biodiversity-climate model interface. Within this system, various biodiversity components will be randomized or excluded to investigate their effects on climate, and vice-versa. Since biodiversity patterns and changes also affect nature’s contributions to people, we will additionally focus on these contributions, and how nature’s contributions will change in response to changing climates and to changing feedback components.
Website visit project website
Network BiodivClim
Call 2019-2020 Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL Coordinator Switzerland
2 Univ. Grenoble Alpes Partner France
3 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung Partner Germany
4 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich Partner Switzerland
5 Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg Partner Germany
6 Masaryk University Partner Czech Republic
7 Stockholm University Partner Sweden