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Article Dans Une Revue Global Change Biology Année : 2021

ForestTemp - Sub-canopy microclimate temperatures of European forests

Jonas J. Lembrechts
  • Fonction : Auteur
Pieter de Frenne
Ilya Maclean
Ivan Nijs
Johan van Den Hoogen
  • Fonction : Auteur
Josef Bruna
  • Fonction : Auteur
Marek Ciliak
  • Fonction : Auteur
Emiel de Lombaerde
Sanne Govaert
Martin Macek
Frantisek Malis
  • Fonction : Auteur
Matej Man
  • Fonction : Auteur
Giovanni Manca
  • Fonction : Auteur
Camille Meeussen
Sonia Merinero
Leonardo Montagnani
Ankit Shekhar
  • Fonction : Auteur


Ecological research heavily relies on coarse-gridded climate data based on standardized temperature measurements recorded at 2 m height in open landscapes. However, many organisms experience environmental conditions that differ substantially from those captured by these macroclimatic (i.e. free air) temperature grids. In forests, the tree canopy functions as a thermal insulator and buffers sub-canopy microclimatic conditions, thereby affecting biological and ecological processes. To improve the assessment of climatic conditions and climate-change-related impacts on forest-floor biodiversity and functioning, high-resolution temperature grids reflecting forest microclimates are thus urgently needed. Combining more than 1200 time series of in situ near-surface forest temperature with topographical, biological and macroclimatic variables in a machine learning model, we predicted the mean monthly offset between sub-canopy temperature at 15 cm above the surface and free-air temperature over the period 2000-2020 at a spatial resolution of 25 m across Europe. This offset was used to evaluate the difference between microclimate and macroclimate across space and seasons and finally enabled us to calculate mean annual and monthly temperatures for European forest understories. We found that sub-canopy air temperatures differ substantially from free-air temperatures, being on average 2.1 degrees C (standard deviation +/- 1.6 degrees C) lower in summer and 2.0 degrees C higher (+/- 0.7 degrees C) in winter across Europe. Additionally, our high-resolution maps expose considerable microclimatic variation within landscapes, not captured by the gridded macroclimatic products. The provided forest sub-canopy temperature maps will enable future research to model below-canopy biological processes and patterns, as well as species distributions more accurately.
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hal-03614155 , version 1 (13-05-2022)



Stef Haesen, Jonas J. Lembrechts, Pieter de Frenne, Jonathan Roger Michel Henri Lenoir, Juha Aalto, et al.. ForestTemp - Sub-canopy microclimate temperatures of European forests. Global Change Biology, 2021, 27 (23), pp.6307-6319. ⟨10.1111/gcb.15892⟩. ⟨hal-03614155⟩
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