DIVGRASS : Plant Functional DIVersity of GRASSlands

DIVGRASS (2011-2013) is funded by the FRB-CESAB

DIVGRASS aims to integrate and share existing knowledge on plant diversity in French Permanent Grasslands (PG). PG have been traditionally maintained through grazing or cutting and represent a hotspot of biodiversity. PG are under threat worldwide.  In France, the area of PG has declined by around 15% over the last two decades.

We will collate and distribute readily analyzable data sets covering the diversity of plant, soil, land use and climate in French PG. Combining these information is required to address key questions in ecosystem and global change science, like:

  • how are plant diversity patterns distributed across gradients of land use and climate ? 
  • how does plant diversity relate to key ecosystem properties such as primary productivity, soil carbon stocks etc. ?
  • how does plant functional diversity impact biogeochemical cycling ?

DIVGRASS will demonstrate the potential to address this challenge from the double point of view of data synthesis and of knowledge generation, with PG as a demonstration example. The need to combine heterogeneous data to address questions relevant to DIVGRASS will serve as a basis to identify key steps and breakthroughs necessary to integrate data from various ecological disciplines.

The consortium includes experts in grassland functional ecology, soil science and ecosystem modelling. DIVGRASS will also provide a unique arena for academic and land-use managers to share data and knowledge on PG. We anticipate that the project outcomes will foster emerging networks of excellence in grassland science benefitting from an unprecedented combination of accessible information on PG.

RETROMONT : Holocene history of high alpine watershed reconstructed from lacustrine sediments

RETROMONT (2011-2013) is funded by CNRS (DIPEE Alpes) and by Univ. Grenoble Alpes

RETROMONT aims to better understand the Holocene history of land use changes, vegetation dynamics and erosion processes in high alpine watersheds of the French Alps. We analyse lacustrine sediments of high elevation lakes using a combination of geochemical methods and DNA metabarcoding approaches. 

RETROMONT is a working collaboration between LECA (P. Taberlet, Ph. Choler), EDYTEM (F. Arnaud, J. poulenard) and SAJF (S. Aubert)

Publications from this project are listed here

CAMELEON: CArbon dynamics in Mountain Ecosystems: analyzing Landscape-scale Effects Of aNthropogenic changes (climate and land-use)

CAMELEON (2011-2013) is funded by ERA-NET Circle Mountain

The combination of climate and land use changes has triggered important land cover changes in European mountains over the past 50 years. Interactive effects between land use and climate changes still represent a critical gap in our understanding of carbon dynamics. Here, we attempt to understand and forecast changes in the carbon stocks and fluxes in mountain ecosystems. A key objective is to model the effects of climatic changes on carbon dynamics at the landscape scale, with explicit incorporation of land cover changes.

Our project targets three long-term mountain research areas located in Eastern Pyrenees (Spain), South-Western Alps (France) and Eastern Alps (Austria), representing contrasting historical and climatic contexts.

First, we will produce consistent and high-quality land cover and land cover change maps from 1950-onwards and model corresponding changes in Plant Functional Diversity (PFD).

Second, we will provide a synthesis of on-ground measurements of carbon stocks and fluxes available in the three investigated areas. The database will be completed by using moderate resolution remotely-sensed data to characterize the seasonal and multiannual dynamics of vegetation. Then, we will evaluate the ability of a widely used ecosystem-process model (ORCHIDEE) to reproduce components of carbon dynamics in complex terrains. A new parameterization of ORCHIDEE featuring continuous changes of PFD along environmental gradients will be tested.

Third, we will develop downscaled, regional climate and land use change scenarios and examine their impacts on carbon stocks and fluxes for the 21st century.

Land use scenarios will be defined with stakeholders. Key findings will be summarized in short assessment reports and discussed with stakeholders and policymakers in workshops at the end of the project.

Our project is the first attempt to provide reliable and comparative regional-scale simulations of carbon dynamics in European mountain ecosystems that incorporate our best ecological knowledge of these hot-spots of biodiversity. It is a milestone towards a better understanding of climate and land use change impacts on carbon cycling in European mountains.