Vestskoven/The Arboretum (UCPH)

The research facility Vestskoven, situated 20 km west of Copenhagen.

The research facility Vestskoven, situated 20 km west of Copenhagen.

Forests currently cover about 15% of the land surface area in Denmark and the long-term national strategy is to increase the forested area in Denmark. A substantial part of the terrestrial carbon sink – and thus climate mitigation – is currently accredited to forests. However, estimated uncertainties are still high and coordinated observations and experiments across Europe are of crucial importance to estimate the future carbon sink – or source – activity of forests.

The Vestskoven experimental forest site is a unique platform to study land-use change effects related to afforestation of former cropland on ecosystem functioning and represents an ‘ecosystem in transition’ platform. Two chronosequences in oak and Norway spruce track the effects of cropland to forest conversion using coniferous or deciduous tree species, respectively. Changes in ecosystem functioning may be assessed by 1) a space-for-time substitution approach (i.e. using the chronosequences) or 2) repeated sampling of ecosystem processes in georeferenced and permanently marked plots. AnaEE Denmark infrastructure upgrades is planned to include a FACE system to be applied during the cultivation stage (first decade after afforestation), an upgraded climate station and equipment for automatic measurements of greenhouse gas fluxes between the ecosystem (soil- and leaf level) and the atmosphere.

The Arboretum experimental facility
The Arboretum experimental facility

The Arboretum site includes a unique collection of woody species, a newly developed T-FACE facility and greenhouse facilities in development. The species collection holds ca. 1400 taxa of trees and shrubs across a broad range of taxonomic groups, and is currently used in studies of biogeography, climate adaptation, phytopathology, invasive species etc.

The Arboretum experimental facility currently includes control plots and plots for open-air heating (four in total but may be expanded), designed to provide up to four degrees above ambient temperatures in a uniform pattern across the plots. The IR heaters emit no visible light to avoid influence on diurnal cycles, making it ideal to study effects of warming on carbon balances and phenological events. The greenhouses at the platform provide options to expose plants to higher levels of heating with the intention to – in the future - provide control of temperatures.


Lars Vesterdal
PhD, professor

DIR (+45) 3533 1672
MOB (+45) 6167 0865


Anders Ræbild tells about a recent warming study at The Arboretum.