We will focus our research activities on the following areas:
l Patterns and dynamics of forest biodiversity under global climate change and the relationship between niche differentiation and resource partitioning;
l The relationship between above- and below-ground biodiversity in forest ecosystems, and its contribution to ecosystem productivity and mechanisms of temporal-spatial asynchronization;
l Dynamics of resource utilization and allocation of key species across successional stages in forest ecosystems, along with factors limiting forest ecosystem productivity;
l Relationships between forest ecosystem productivity and biodiversity along different environmental gradients, and the effects of environmental factors and disturbances on potential forest productivity;
l Simulation and prediction of long-term dynamics of forest ecosystem productivityin order to provide a scientific basis for maintaining long-term productivity and enhancing the ecosystem service functions.
2 Forest and soil nutrient cycling and its interactive mechanisms
lBiogeographical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and water in terrestrial ecosystems from molecular to ecosystem scalesforbetter understanding of biotic and abiotic drivers;
lResponse and feedback of carbon, nitrogen and water cycling processes to human activities and global climate changes at different spatial and temporal scales; and
lSolidifying the scientific basis for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management.
3 Ecosystem management and landscape regulation
lInteractionsamong photosynthetic products, tree regeneration patterns, biogeochemical cycles, and soil structure and fertility in forest ecosystems;
lEffect of management strategies on key ecological processes and services in forest ecosystems, and techniques for maintaining ecosystem services;
lRelationship between landscape pattern and ecological process, optimal landscape configurations of land use types, and regional environmental effects of landscape patterns.
4 Carbon sequestration potential in natural forest soils
lEcological processes of soil carbon sequestration across successionalstages of natural forests;
lImpactsof multi-objective ecosystem management and environmental change on soil carbon accumulation processes;
lCarbon storage and sequestration potential in natural forest soils as affected by global climate change and anthropogenic activities.
5 Structure, function and regulation of plantation ecosystems
In light of the main problems existing in plantation ecosystems in China,studies with thefollowing foci will be carried out for Chinese fir, larch, and poplar plantations:
l Processes governing productivity in plantations, and mechanisms controlling photosynthetic efficiency and its effects on productivity as a basis for elucidating reasons for low productivity;
l Clarification of the effects of forest structure on long-term productivity of plantation forests in relation to biogeochemical processes and soil fertility;
l Assessment of the effects of plantation ecosystems on alleviating climate change, and trade-offs between ecological functions and timber production for these ecosystems;
With the aidof the above studies, a strategy to promote optimal forest structure and functioning will be proposed, and a theoretical basis for enhancing the stability of plantation forests will be provided.