We are grateful to a grant from HiLIFE Grand Challenges, Biological Resilience Seed Funding, allowing us to start work on the project: Surviving on the edge – trait syndromes that facilitate northerly species-range expansion.
This project will allow us to utilise a unique field-trial of Fagus sylvatica (European beech) at the University of Helsinki – far beyond the north-eastern limit of its range. Using such trials, we can compare the traits of populations in new potentially stressful environments, giving us the tools to forecast how they will respond to climate change and potentially exploit more northerly regions of Europe.
In addition to field data, the project will test how trait information can be inserted into species distribution models. We will bring together experts in the field from Helsinki and beyond, to discuss how best to develop such models to provide informed forecasts of future species distributions. Armed with this knowledge, we will consider how policy makers, foresters, and conservation bodies might utilise this information in their work.