Climate changes

Terrestrial habitats such as heaths, bogs, marshes, grasslands, forests and coastlines are the places where Denmark’s nature is found in its most unaffected form. However, many of these ecosystems depend on some sort of maintenance or cultivation, e.g. grazing.

Further, they are influenced by the fact that they have to co-exist with human activities such as agriculture, industry and traffic. This has meant that nature becomes polluted with nutrients from agriculture and emissions from industry and traffic and that as the area available for nature has diminished.

In the reports from the National Focal Point for terrestrial ecology, the latest facts on the current state of Denmark’s nature are listed. You can read the published reports here (in Danish): novana.au.dk

Climate changes on plants and soil organisms. The effects are studied in different ways; in the laboratory, in the greenhouse and in the field, and cover studies ranging from the individual level to population, societal and ecosystem levels, e.g. by manipulating various factors, e.g. temperature, precipitation and CO2.

An important research topic in our section is whether, and to what extent, the evolutionary adaptation to changing climatic conditions can occur while the actual climate changes are taking place. The section has many years research experience in studying soil organisms’ ability to tolerate cold and drought stress and the underlying molecular and physiological reasons for this.

A key research question is whether plants and animals that have been living with climatic changes for generations have already adapted to this and whether they potentially will (continue to) adapt. Not all species possess the same adaptability. For this reason, we are studying whether climatic changes also lead to changes in species composition as a result of varying abilities to thrive under changing general conditions. Climate change has been shown to affect e.g. plant competition. Increased knowledge about climatic adaptation can help us e.g. to predict the future success of plants that grow in habitats that will be affected by climate change in the future. You can read more about the applied plant ecology here.

The section participates in a number of research projects, including one of the major long-term national research projects dealing with environmental effects of climate change, CLIMAITE.

Project highlights

(In Danish)