In light of observations of climate changes over the past century, understanding the climate of the past millennium becomes increasingly important. This enables us placing the changes we witness today in a longer-term context, helping us deciphering both natural and anthropogenic forcing on the climate system. In this context, the project „Forest response to climate change predicted from multicentury climate proxy-records in the Carpathian region” (CLIMFOR) will answer one of the most critical questions in climate research: does the magnitude and rate of the 20th century climate change exceed the natural variability in the Carpathian region? Building on this, the project will also answer a second question, of direct importance for future forest management in a changing climate: how did forests respond to past climatic changes of variable magnitude and frequency?
Summary of project results
This project responded to European research priorities by applying modern research techniques and methodologies, as well as through the results that have been achieved. Thus, the project answered very well to the request in the thematic field of Environment and Climate Change. Productivity, phytosanitary status and forest dynamics are heavily affected by the climate change. Forests ecosystems also contribute to the rate and scale of climate change by their capacity to store carbon in wood and soil. Annual rings are one of the most used techniques for climate and environmental reconstructions, especially for the last centuries but also for the last millennium. CLIMFOR has contributed decisively to the integration of Romanian forest ecology, dendrochronology and paleoclimatic research into the European research community and, implicitly, will substantially strengthen the Romanian research potential on European scale. Moreover, the project was an opportunity to collaborate with other research communities in Europe and donor countries. P2 and P3 involved highly qualified specialists in research and development project management. The structure of the consortium has been balanced against the objectives of the project, both in terms of number and staff distribution. The consortium was formed by professional researchers, young scientists, PhD Students and technical assistance ensuring the achievement of all objectives and activities. The CLIMFOR project has contributed through its achieved results to a sustainable forest management to limit the negative effects of climate change. Through the high infrastructure development that came with the CLIMFOR project it was possible to reduce the economic and scientific discrepancy between Romania and donor states. It has also increased the competitiveness at the European Scientific Community level by exploring and experimenting with new research methods disseminated within 6 Thomson ISI articles, 9 articles indexed in international databases (BDIs) and participating in over 27 national and international research conferences. CLIMFOR's results, disseminated to potential beneficiaries, can be socially valuable tools for environmental education, for society's awareness of climate change, forest resources conservation and the important role they play. Throughout the research and the anticipated results, CLIMFOR aimed to increase the working environment standards.
Summary of bilateral results
Given the purpose and complexity of the project, it was necessary to ensure the collaboration of four research and development institutions, which have the appropriate level of scientific and technical expertise: IFS (P2), NINA (P3) from the donor countries and USV (CO), ICAS (P1) and USV (P2). CO, P1, P2 and P3 had the task of co-opting the teams of specialists in the field: dendrochronology, paleoclimatic reconstruction, forest ecology, computer science, analysis of the structure and function of forest ecosystems, climate change, project management and young researches with specific monitoring concerns integrated into forest ecosystems. The teamwork was defined by a competent scientific and technical expertise, training and a high-level expertise to carry out this project. The link between the participants in the consortium was given by two coordinates. One refers to the specific infrastructure of each participant, given that the level of equipment ensures a proper execution of the project phases. The second coordinate, and most important, relates to the expertise of the consortium components. Thus, CO had highly qualified specialists in dendrochronology, dendroclimatology, climate reconstruction using multi-proxy data (annual rings, ice cores, sediments and stable isotopes), and research and development project management. P1 has got specialists in dendrochronology, dendroclimatology, forest management, forestry and forest policies. P2 and P3 contributed with the practical knowledge in dendrochronology, paleoclimatic variation, forest ecology and impact in climate change. Also, P2 and P3 involved highly qualified specialists in research and development project management. P2 and P3 involved highly qualified specialists in research and development project management. The structure of the consortium has been balanced against the objectives of the project, both in terms of number and staff distribution. The consortium was formed by professional researchers, young scientists, PhD Students and technical assistance ensuring the achievement of all objectives and activities.