Boreal forests are one of the largest biomes on Earth and of considerable global importance in regulating climate and carbon storage. Boreal regions have experienced considerable warming and have been considered a potential tipping element of the Earth system with further climate change. This project therefore aims to increase crucial knowledge about the response of boreal forests to these changing conditions and their potential feedbacks with future climate change. It is likely that such responses will first be observable at or near the distribution boundary of boreal tree species. Here, altered growing conditions and disturbance regimes may lead to expanding or contracting species ranges. We attempt to explore these changes by observing continental-scale boreal tree cover along the southern and northern distribution boundaries using remote sensing products. In a next step, the response of regional boreal forests along the forest-tundra ecotone in Norway will be assessed through field and remotely sensed data. The aim is to identify the drivers of forest recovery following insect outbreaks. Lastly, we will assess the relationship between insect-induced tree mortality and associated changes in albedo. These changes have implications for regional climate within the forest-tundra ecotone.
We provide a disciplinary and multidisciplinary research programme aimed at advanced understanding of environmental problems and advanced training of PhD candidates in this field.