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Prize for excellent dissertation

Valentina Vitali receives the Göttinger Prize for Forest Ecosystem Research

Freiburg, Sep 26, 2018

Prize for excellent dissertation

Valentina Vitali. Photo: private

The environmental and forestry scientist Valentina Vitali receives the Göttingen Prize for Forest Ecosystem Research for her work on the potential of Douglas fir and silver fir as possible substitute tree species for spruce in the context of climate change. The award for special achievements by junior researchers in forest ecosystem science is worth 2,500 euros. Vitali wrote her dissertation at the Chair of Silviculture at the University of Freiburg in just three years. She was supervised by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bauhus. She has published the results of her work in international journals, including Global Change Biology.

In her work, Vitali has examined how three influential factors have impacted the growth of tree rings: drought stress, the composition of tree species and future climate changes, including changes in seasonal climates. She has shown for the Black Forest that not only the Douglas fir, but also the pine tree is more resistant to drought stress and recovers faster than the spruce. Firs also benefit from the mixture with the other two tree species in dry years while mixed stands on Douglas fir and spruce tend to have a negative impact. While pine and Douglas fir benefit from milder winters and spring periods, spruce does not. The scientist, who has now taken up a postdoctoral position at the Université du Québec à Montréal in Canada, has thus proven that the climate-sensitive spruce is not only native to North America, but also a native alternative for the Black Forest area dependent on coniferous woodlands.

For more information about Vitali’s research

Dr. Valentina Vitali
Département des sciences biologiques
Université du Québec à Montréal

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bauhus
Institute of Silviculture
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-3677