blackpine layer

Working group II: Tree-model based integration and interpretation


1) Aim

Review the integrated mechanistic processes of tree responses at different time scales. Available models at different scales will be verified, discussed, and compared. The effect on wood production and quality, as well as on future tree performance will be discussed and summarized.


2) Deliverables

  • Inventory of models, concepts and ideas that provide mechanistic understanding of tree functioning and growth;
  • Review papers on the mechanistic understanding of tree responses at different time scales, including state-of-the-art models;
  • Integration of different time scales in tree-response models;
  • Defining key traits to be derived from process-based models;
  • Identification of research potential and gaps

3) Activities

To realise in-depth understanding of mechanistic processes underlying stress responses of trees we will work around the following tasks:


Task 1: establish an update on tree functioning under “normal” conditions (this includes concepts, ideas, hypothesis, models)

Task 2: inventory of mechanisms of how trees may respond to stress, including extreme events. Important challenging questions are: (i) does the timing of the stress matter, and if yes, how; (ii) how does tree mortality works, including disentangling its link with cavitation and hydraulic conductance, (iii) what is the meaning of nighttime sap flow,…

Task 3: inventory of existing mechanistic models at different time scales, including an inventory of data needed to run and validate the different models (meteo data, light response curves, water potentials, P50 values,…).

Task 4: develop and/or improve tree models by integrating new knowledge

Task 5: run and validate models across gradients or run scenarios to better understand the effect on wood production and quality, as well as on future tree performance.


4) Expected research field of WG-members

Everybody active in any research field related to a mechanistic understanding of tree responses to various climate-related stress factors. We will not only model, but also discuss and develop concepts and ideas on tree functioning with a tight link to cambial activity and wood anatomy to finally translate this knowledge in mathematical equations and implement this in improved tree models.


5) The contribution we expect from the WG-members

We expect active participation in discussing mechanisms/ideas/hypothesis models of tree functioning under both normal and (extreme) stress conditions. This knowledge may eventually result in new or improved tree models that are crucial for an unambiguous interpretation and a deeper understanding about key-functional traits explaining stress response of European tree species.


Kathy Steppe
Working group leader






Outcome first meeting