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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

Menu Logo Principal logo_whitespace_left_new.jpg logo SPONFOREST (design Bastien Castagneyrol) white_space_right logo_biodiversa


Work Packages


SPONFOREST includes a total of five work packages. WP1 and WP2 involve the ecological research upon the processes, drivers and consequences of forest establishment and regrowth; WP 3 aims to develop a demo-genetic modeling framework for reconstructing and predicting forest regrowth and to incorporate the obtained empirical data in this model; WP4 comprises the social science research on the perception, management and governance of novel forests; WP5 includes  the project management as well as the synthesis and communication of the project outcomes. Note that both WP2 and WP4 contribute to the quantification of different ecosystem services that are delivered by novel forests.


WP1: Establishment of study sites, genetics and demography of keystone tree species

Leaders: Santiago González-Martínez, BIOGECO, France & Josep Espelta, CREAF, Spain

- Task 1.1: Establishment of study sites

Each case study counts with a minimum of 15 study sites corresponding to entire or parts of forest stands that have either newly established or strongly expanded after 1950.  Each stand is dominated by one target forest tree species.  All trees of this species above a certain size threshold (focal trees, total n = 3960) have been mapped, tagged and individually characterized through a series of field and laboratory measures. Diverse further measures have been taken to characterize the environment of the stands. Wherever possible, the sampling methodology has been performed following a previously established standard sampling protocol to maximize opportunities for direct comparisons among the different case studies.

- Task 1.2: Dendroecological analyses

All focal trees have been cored for dendrochronological studies including analyses of individual tree age, growth rate, or climate sensitivity.

- Task 1.3: Genetic analyses

The focal trees have been genotyped at a variable number of SNP markers for analyses of diversity, genetic relatedness, and parentage. Complementary genetic studies have also been performed on seedlings recruiting within study sites.

- Task 1.4: Landscape analyses

Aerial photographs and remote sensing data have been examined to characterize the landscape context of the study sites from each case study. Complementary investigations have addressed patterns of forest regrowth in different geographical contexts (Europe, Spain, province of Barcelona). 


WP2: Assessment of ecosystem functioning and service provisioning

Leader: Fernando Valladares, MNCN, Spain

- Task 2.1: Functional traits

Numerous functional traits (both morphological and physiological) have been measured for all or subsets of the focal trees. The list of traits includes measures at the tree level (e.g., height, dbh, canopy projection, architecture, fecundity) and at the leaf level (e.g., SLA, C:N ratio, isotope composition). Patterns of among-individual variation in functional traits have been linked with the stand establishment process.

- Task 2.2: Ecosystem functions and services

A joint investigation has assembled field data from the different case studies to compare the ecosystem services they deliver within the frame of the recent Nature’s Contribution to People (NCP) framework (Diaz et al. 2018). Moreover, complementary studies have combined field and remote sensing data to investigate the effects of recent forest regrowth on increments in biomass and habitat connectivity across different geographical contexts (Europe, Spain, province of Barcelona).

- Task 2.3: Biotic interactions: impact of herbivory and seed predation

Several complementary studies have investigated patterns and drivers of leaf herbivory and of pre-dispersal seed predation within a context of forest regrowth and landscape defragmentation.


WP3: Modelling of forest patch dynamics within the landscape context

Leader: Frank Schurr, University of Hohenheim, Germany

- Task 3.1: Demo-genetic model for spontaneous forest regrowth

A generic model for the dynamics and genetic structure of tree populations and a Bayesian statistical framework for estimating this model have been developed.  

- Task 3.2: Parameterizing the generic model

Using the statistical methods developed in Task 3.1, the generic model has been parameterized using the data collected in WP 1 and 2 with the aim to describe variation among study sites and plots.

- Task 3.3: Forecasting SFE dynamics

The parameterized models have been used to forecast changes in the size, age and genetic structure of novel forest stands under explicit landscape management scenarios.


WP4: Societal demand for ecosystem services and governance of spontaneous forest regrowth

Leader: Georg Winkel, European Forest Institute, Germany

- Task 4.1: Identifying societal demands and management practices

Current management strategies by local landowners and stakeholders as well as ecosystem services and disservices delivered by novel forests have been identified through literature reviews, expert interviews and systematic surveys among local key groups.

- Task 4.2: Analysing the governance of spontaneous forest regrowth

Governance arrangements related to forest regrowth (e.g., regulations, subsidies) have been identified by means of document analysis followed by interviews with public bodies in charge of regional planning, NGOs and other policy stakeholders.


WP5: Synthesis and communication of results for policy recommendations

Leader: Arndt Hampe, BIOGECO, France

- Task 5.1: Synthesis and communication

A series of materials and events for result dissemination and communication with dfferent audiences have been generated through the course of the project that are described in further detail on the page Results.