Mixing tree species is an important strategy of climate adaptive forest management in Anthropocene. Mixed forests are known for higher stability and greater resilience than monospecific forests to climate change induced disturbances such as droughts and hurricanes. Mixing species alter ecosystem processes and functions, hence, influence ecosystem services. Under the framework of the BuTaKli project, seven working groups are doing silvicultural, economic, eco-physiological, and socio-ecological assessment on the scope of mixing beech and fir trees. The central hypothesis of this project states that the mixing would be beneficial for the beech trees under the cycle of drought followed by wet seasons without hampering the growth of fir trees. This climatic pattern is becoming a trend in southern Germany under climate change. Mixing these two species should enhance the ecosystem services from the forests in addition to increasing the adaptive capacities of forests.
In the project ITAS is assessing the provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting services from beech-fir mixed forests and further comparing those services to the monoculture of respective species. We will first do a comprehensive literature review (i.e. meta-analysis) on the forest ecosystem services from mixed forests vs. monospecific forests. After that, we will compare data from the other working groups and the National Forest Inventory on some selected ecosystem services between beech-fir mixed forests and monospecific forests of respective species. We will finally supplement this quantitative analysis with an in-depth study by questionnaire survey from experts and stakeholders on non-quantifiable ecosystem services such as the recreation and tourism values of forests. After the completion of the work, we should be enable to say whether mixing beech and fir trees would increase forest ecosystem services or not. The outcomes from this project will have significant importance for foresters, forest owners, policy makers and other stakeholders.