MENDELU Faculty Launches Research Project Into Forest Ecosystems

The five-year Excellentia project was launched at the beginning of May this year. Photo credit: Mendel University.

Brno, May 13 (BD) – A leading interdisciplinary research group from Mendel University will coordinate research on forest ecosystems. The research group is being established under the university’s Faculty of Forestry and Wood Science (LDF MENDELU), headed by the leading scientist Professor Douglas L. Godbold. The team will study the impacts of predicted climate scenarios on Central European forests. Collection of the necessary data and practical research will take place at the Masaryk forest school in Křtiny (ŠLP Křtiny).

The five-year Excellentia project was launched by LDF MENDELU in May of this year.

“The project should bring new insights into the climate-endangered forest ecosystems of Central Europe with regard to the needs of society, but also clarify how much humanity has contributed to instability in the past by moving away from growing natural forests towards growing monocultures,” explained Libor Jankovský, the coordinator of the project and head of the Institute of Forest Protection and Hunting at LDF MENDELU.  “Excellentia will be built on the availability of data and the already ongoing research program at LDF.”

The researchers will focus on ongoing climate change, which is also affecting European forests. They will investigate the sustainability of forest ecosystems in the context of ongoing changes, and ensure the stability of forests for the coming decades. Other questions the scientists will address through the project include the varying reactions of different types of trees to drought and the susceptibility or resistance of tree root systems to pathogen attacks. Through Professor Godbold’s contacts within the European scientific community, the team is expected to contribute to important international projects.

As a long-standing university research facility, ŠLP Křtiny will provide a unique background for this research, thanks to the diverse subsoil and varied tree composition. Some of the research areas were established there as far back as 1973. Since then, continuous measurement of tree growth has been taking place. The scientists therefore have a unique data set at their disposal. During the project, the so-called Science Days events will also take place regularly at ŠLP Křtiny, consisting of guided tours of permanent research areas, in cooperation with the forest pedagogy of ŠLP Křtiny.

“In addition to the scientific line, the Excellentia project aims to implement structural changes in the field of sustainable research and innovation, intellectual property rights and research data management, codification of scientific ethics, and also in the field of career guidance,” said Pavlína Pancová Šimková from the Institute for Forest Protection and Hunting.

The results of the project will be continuously published, not only to experts, but also to the lay public, such as via the national Night of Scientists event. The project also envisages cooperation with secondary schools, for example through the annual Biology Olympiads.

The Excellentia project will run from 1 May 2023 to 30 April 2028. To date, the project has the largest financial contribution for all Mendel University’s programs, with contributions received from all EU framework programs.

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