Long-term disturbance dynamics as drivers of taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity of primary forest communities

Name of programme: GAČR Standard project

Project number: 22-31322S

Investigator: Ing. Martin Mikoláš, Ph.D.

Contact person: Ing. Martin Mikoláš, Ph.D., mikolasm@fld.czu.cz

Implementation period: 2022-2024


Primary forests provide sanctuary for many endangered species, and they can provide crucial insight into the complex interrelationships between biodiversity and the evolutionary pressures of natural disturbances. Climate change is recently altering disturbance regimes while constraining the operation of disturbance-driven forest dynamics essential to sustaining biodiversity. Using the remaining primary forests in Central Europe as a model system, we will conduct the first quantitative analysis linking taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity across three kingdoms to the long-term disturbance dynamics of the region. We hypothesize that natural disturbances shape forest communities by acting as a source of environmental variation; disturbances either create or destroy specific habitat substrates. Ongoing successional development may promote species, functional, and phylogenetic turnovers. Our results could develop predictions about the effects of changing natural disturbance regimes on species assemblage rules and community resilience in forest landscapes.

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