Ecosystem development and critical zone research: Experimental ecosystem development research and coevolution of soils, landforms and vegetation
Convener: Werner Gerwin | Co-conveners: Jose Rodriguez, Shayli Dor-Haim, Jan Frouz, Mariano Moreno de las Heras, Patricia Saco, Omer Yetemen
| Attendance Thu, 07 May, 16:15–18:00 (CEST)

Ecosystems, their abiotic and biotic compartments as well as their internal processes and interactions can be interpreted as the result of numerous evolutionary steps during system development. Understanding ecosystem development can be regarded, therefore, as crucial for understanding ecosystem functioning.
Most of these basic ecosystem processes are not directly accessible and several of them become apparent only after disturbance (e.g. drought, heat waves) or anthropogenic system modifications when single ecosystem processes produce distinct signals. Thus, experiments are widely used for elucidating Critical Zone development, function and its links to ecosystem processes. In this part of the session we aim at creating an overview on experimental ecosystem development research infrastructures and model natural systems. Besides insights into flagship sites this session provides interdisciplinary contributions dealing with exemplary concepts of experimental ecosystem infrastructures and landscape observatories in Critical Zone research, concepts for monitoring Critical Zone processes in experimental landscape observatories, results of experiments and monitoring studies, as well as modelling approaches for explaining process linking Critical zone and ecosystem processes in responses to global changes.
The second part of the session focuses on spatial patterns of vegetation, soils and landforms which are recognized as sources of valuable information for inferring the state and function of ecosystems. This part of the session will focus on ecogeomorphological and ecohydrological aspects of landscapes, conservation of soil resources, and the restoration of ecosystem functions. Contributions will deal with theoretical, modelling and empirical studies addressing the organization of vegetation and coevolving soils and landforms, and particularly, the soil erosion-vegetation relationships that rule the formation of landscape-level spatial patterns. In addition, studies describing the implications of these spatial patterns of soils and vegetation for the resilience and stability of ecosystems under the pressure of climate change and/or human disturbances will be presented.
The conveners are happy to announce a solicited talk on "Dynamics and patterns of plant development in restored mining areas - practical examples" given by Carolina Martínez-Ruis from the University Institute of Research in Sustainable Forestry at the University of Valladolid (Spain).