Session 1: Environmental status and health of Mediterranean forest ecosystems

Mediterranean-type ecosystems face a number of stressors (ozone, drought, radiation) that are of interest for many other water-limited plant ecosystems in the world. In addition, Mediterranean-climate regions are transitional areas at high risk because of climatic changes. As this congress is located in the heart of the Mediterranean basin, this session welcomes contributions elucidating how Mediterranean forest health is challenged by traditional and new stress factors.
Chairs: Elena Paoletti and Pierre Sicard

Session 2: Impacts of air pollution and climate change on forests in the wildland-urban interface

Urban environments that are stressful for plant function and growth will become increasingly widespread in future. Analyzing plant responses to urban conditions, which we define as ‘Urban Plant Physiology’, represents an important opportunity to gain an insight into immediate physiological responses, tolerance of plants and extent and mechanisms of short- and long-term plant adaptations often simulating climate change conditions. Woody species are particularly important in this context, because of their longevity and the possibility of studying the mechanisms of long-term adaptation. The transition zones between urban centers and rural and natural areas, including the urban-rural interface represent a gradient of stress conditions and thus provide a scene for unique case studies along stress gradients. Physiological responses to these stressful conditions also affect the capacity of urban and peri-urban vegetation to provide key environmental services.
Chairs: Carlo Calfapietra and Algirdas Augustaitis

Session 3: Physiological and genetic mechanisms underlying stress responses of forest trees and forest ecosystems

In aiming to explore the current state of knowledge on climate and air pollution stress on forest trees and ecosystems, and to identify priorities and challenges of future research towards consolidating forest health, sustainability and ecosystem services worldwide, one crucial frontier is to understand linkages between genetic responses and resulting physiological activities, i.e., genetic control of physiological responses. However, such kind of cause-effect interface has typically been not addressed in research, so that the scarce knowledge available is inadequate for assessing actual forest site conditions or scenarios of environmental change. This session will focus on discussing physiological and genetic mechanisms underlying stress responses of forest trees and forest ecosystems to climate change and air pollution, with emphasis on linking genetic and physiological stress responses. Therefore, contributions are encouraged that assess the envisaged genetics-physiology interface.
Chairs: Om Rajora and Rainer Matyssek

Session 4: Health and growth of forests: bridging monitoring and modeling

The session will investigate the use of different modeling approach as an essential tool to bridge the knowledge gaps in different scientific domains (air pollution, atmospheric deposition, climate change, forest impacts in terms of growth, health, yield, distribution and biodiversity loss) in order to: translate environmental observations and predictions into future scenarios; improve understanding of interaction between climate change, air pollutants and impacts on forest ecosystems; quantify the ecological responses under changing climate conditions on forest ecosystems; reduce uncertainties of current climate prediction; identify hot spot regions where action is needed; provide risk maps for forests at regional and local scale and propose adaptations and recommendations to forest ecosystem policy and management practices.
Chairs: Alessandra De Marco and Salim Belyazid

Session 5: Biogeochemistry and multiple stressors

The session aims to raise awareness about multiple, interactive effects of air pollution (ozone, nitrogen oxides, excess nitrogen deposition) and climate change (increase in CO2, temperature, extreme climatic events) on forest ecosystems and the services they provide. By forest ecosystem services, we refer to those functions that are valued by humans (e.g., water quality/quantity, clean air, carbon sequestration, habitat protection), but which are taken for granted and/or are difficult to quantify. We solicit presentations on atmosphere-biosphere-pedosphere interactions affected by anthropogenically driven changes in the atmosphere, in land use, and in biogeochemical responses. To be considered, abstracts should address the effects of multiple, not single, environmental stressors. Preference will be given to inter-trophic or cascading trophic level impacts of anthropogenic impacts.
Chairs: Nancy E. Grulke and He Shang

Session 6: Forest ecosystems, atmospheric deposition and the water cycle

Water is a major determinant of ecosystem response to stress factors. Air pollution, climate change, land use and management, pest outbreaks, fire and other factors may have adverse effects on water availability and quality, and watershed nutrient cycling. We invite studies on the various aspects of forests, hydrology and nutrient cycling. The response of ecosystems to dry conditions, water deficits and altered water and nutrient cycling due to climate change and air pollution are examples of presentations desired for this session. The scope of the session also includes non-forest ecosystems and desertification studies. We expect that the session will provide the groundwork for integrating research findings on the water cycle, atmospheric deposition and ecosystem behavior so that solid management strategies can be developed for better environmental policies and adaptation of ecosystems that ensure sustainability.
Chairs: Yusuf Serengil and Mark Fenn