STSM at ETH-Zürich, Forest Ecology group

Dr Laura Dobor, a postdoctoral researcher from the Czech University of Life Sciences (CZU), Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Prague spent 15 days in Zürich, Switzerland with Prof Dr Harald Bugmann and Dr Olalla Díaz Yáñez on learning about and structural model uncertainties and the LandClim forest landscape model.

by Laura Dobor

During this STSM I gained knowledge about the LandClim forest landscape model with Olalla Díaz Yáñez and Sarah Hilfiker. The model is adapted for several landscapes across Europe and the bark beetle module has been under development in the past few years. The study which I joined is aiming to identify structural model uncertainties in the bark beetle simulations inside LandClim. For this reason, many different sub-model variations are created for the bark beetle model and aimed to test them across different landscapes. The results of this “bark beetle module ensemble” could show which processes are more uncertain and need more research in the future. During my STSM my role was to bring a new landscape into to study from the Czech Republic, where we are operating the iLand landscape model for a while. Even though the short time, as most of the data were already prepared for another model, the input preparation for LandClim model was doable in a couple of days. Then in the rest of the time I was working on producing the initial species composition and age structure using the spinup procedure, analyze the results and prepare the simulations for including bark beetle disturbances. As a follow-up activity we will continue to work on running the ensemble simulation for the different bark beetle module settings and compare the results with outputs from other landscapes.

We had additional practical exchanges e.g., with Sarah Hilfiker, who has been working with the model iLand for a year now and we looked at her results together and discussed the model settings that she is using. Finally, I made a mini-workshop on how to retrieve data from the E-OBS database and use MT-CLIM software to downscale climate data.

During my stay my research group visited us for a one-day workshop, where we all presented our recent research activities both from ETH and CZU. The meeting was fruitful, and we are planning to apply to an SNSF-GACR research grant jointly in the future. We had a half day team building walk at Uetliberg the next day and we already fixed the dates next year when we will host a workshop in Prague and the ETH research group will visit us.


I would like to thank the EU COST Association and the COST Action CA19139 PROCLIAS for supporting this STSM.


If you are interested in doing an STSM, please find more information here.