MixForChange: Mixed Forest plantations for climate Change mitigation and adaptation

A growing body of evidence suggests that mixed forest plantations, i.e., plantations where several tree species (or varieties) are mixed, can be more efficient in sequestrating carbon, while better coping with climate change-related stress and other biotic disturbances (such as exotic pests). However, monocultures still dominate the world’s forest plantations. The reasons for the apparent reluctance to adopt mixed plantations among landowners and stakeholders need to be identified and addressed in future forest policies to promote the large-scale expansion of resilient mixed forest plantations. One of the possible factors that may have prevented the expansion of mixed plantations at large scales is an insufficient scientific base for management. We are indeed lacking a generic understanding of the type of species mixtures that optimize climate change mitigation (carbon sequestration) and adaptation (stress resilience) across contrasting site conditions.
To provide science-based recommendations and guidelines endorsed by forest owners, managers and policy-makers, MixForChange aims to increase our mechanistic understanding of why and how tree diversity, species identities and management (thinning and fertilization) influence the potential of forest mixed plantations to mitigate (C sequestration) and adapt (stress resilience) to climate change, in a win-win approach.
Specifically, MixForChange will:

  • characterize stakeholders' awareness of mixed plantations benefits and identify barriers to implementation under contrasting management objectives, biomes and cultural contexts,
  • identify which type of species mixture optimize climate change mitigation on per biome basis (via carbon sequestration),
  • characterize the resilience of mixed plantations to multiple climate change -related stresses (drought and leaf herbivory),
  • synthesize trade-offs and synergies between climate change mitigation, adaptation and stakeholders' objectives or constraints
  • communicate results and build capacity at different levels of decision.

MixForChange research is organized in work packages (WP) that will address climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration in mixed plantations (WP1, see Figure 1), climate change adaptation through drought resilience in mixed plantations (WP2), effects of biotic interactions on carbon sequestration and drought resilience in mixed plantations (WP3), stakeholder perceptions of mixed plantations and adaptation to climate change (WP4), and make syntheses of mitigation and adaptation potential of mixed plantations (WP5).

Funding and Partners
The MixForChange project is funded by the BiodivERsA program, under the Horizon 2020 ERA-NET COFUND scheme. Funding agencies are ANR (France), BelSPO (Belgium), DFG (Germany), FAPESP (Brazil), FWF (Austria), and Formas (Sweden).

The principal investigators of MixForChange are:

  • Joannès Guillemot, Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD, project manager)
  • Guerric le Maire, CIRAD
  • Agnès Robin, CIRAD
  • Nicolas Martin-StPaul, Institut national de recherche pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement (INRAE)
  • Hervé Jactel, INRAE
  • Bastien Castagneyrol, INRAE
  • Nicolas Fanin, INRAE
  • Damien Bonal, INRAE
  • Lander Baeten, Ghent University
  • Kris Verheyen, Ghent University
  • Stéphane Declerck, Université catholique de Louvain
  • Quentin Ponette, Université catholique de Louvain
  • Martin Weih, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Carolyn Glynn, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Jürgen Bauhus, University of Freiburg
  • Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, University of Freiburg
  • Christel Baum, University of Rostock
  • Hans Sandén, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna
  • Boris Rewald, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna
  • Pedro Brancalion, University of São Paulo / ESALQ
  • Benjamin Caldwell, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • Christian Messier, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Alain Paquette, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • William Parker, Ontario Forest Research Institute
  • Simone Mereu, University of Sassari

Extra information

For more information on the MixForChange project, you can browse the MixForChange website or follow @MixForChangeTDN on twitter.