Interactive effects of changes in climate and management on the yield and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of grasslands
Climate change projections for the Alps, in particular increases in temperature and reductions in summer precipitation, are expected to affect grassland yields in this region. Climate change and adaptations of grassland management in response to climate change are in turn expected to affect the carbon dioxide source/sink strength of grassland ecosystems, thus providing feedback to climate change. Effects, in particular those of interactive nature, of climate change on grassland yield and the carbon dioxide source/sink strength have been little, if at all, investigated – according to present knowledge both positive and negative effects might occur. The objective of the present project, which will be conducted in collaboration of research institutions from Innsbruck, Graz and Bozen/Bolzano and students and teachers of the Agricultural School Rotholz, is to define grassland management scenarios for likely future climate scenarios and to quantify the interactive effects of climate and management scenarios on the grassland yield and carbon dioxide source/sink strength.
To this end the project aims at
- developing regional climate scenarios for North Tyrol based on a statistical downscaling,
- developing grassland management scenarios based on a dialogue between students, teachers and scientists,
- simulating yield and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of grassland ecosystems for all combinations of climate and management scenarios using a model of the carbon cycle of managed grassland ecosystems (GrassC),
- valibrating GrassC using data from previous projects and data gathered within this project by the students on their own farms which are backed up by remote sensing data.
- Finally, all along the project science education research is carried out to make sure that project activities meet the needs of the participating students.
This project has been completed.