From October 9-12, 2015, 17 collaborators gathered in Dunkeld, Scotland, for our first G-TREE synthesis workshop. The four day workshop was centred around two separate, but inherently related, synthesis activities:

G-TREE Data Synthesis: G-TREE members with one or more years of data came together to conduct the first global synthesis of results from our distributed experiment. Over the course of the workshop, participants developed conceptual diagrams for processes measure through the experiment, collated datasets, calculated climate variables, and developed the modelling framework for our analyses. 

Literature Synthesis: Participants, both affiliated with G-TREE and not, came together to conduct a critical review of the current status of research on treeline response to disturbance, in the context of global change. As with the data synthesis component of the workshop, participants first developed conceptual diagrams and mock figures to explain relationships and processes related to disturbance at treeline. An extensive literature database was collated prior to the workshop, and over the four days participants assessed papers, identified critical processes facilitated (or hindered) by disturbance at treeline, and developed the framework of a synthesis paper. 



Our workshop would not have been possible without the generous support of the Mountain Research Initiative and International Arctic Science Committee Terrestrial Working Group. Both agencies consistently provide generous support to research initiatives like ours, for which we are very grateful!


Sandra Angers-Blondin, University of EdinburghUnited Kingdom

Maaike Bader, University of MarburgGermany

Anne Bjorkman, University of Edinburgh and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)United Kingdom & Germany

Alina Cansler, University of WashingtonUSA

Bradley Case, Lincoln UniversityNew Zealand

Sarah Elmendorf, National Ecological Observatory NetworkUSA

Esther Frei, University of British ColumbiaCanada

Alison Hester, The James Hutton InstituteUnited Kingdom

Rebecca Hewitt, Northern Arizona UniversityUSA

Teresa Nettleton Hollingsworth, USDA Forest Service, USA

Adelaide Johnson, USDA Forest Service, USA

Dasvinder Kambo, Queen’s UniversityCanada

Christian Rixen, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLFSwitzerland

Brian Starzomski, University of VictoriaCanada

Andrew Trant, University of VictoriaCanada

Johanna Varner, University of UtahUSA

Susanna Venn, Monash UniversityAustralia


Friday, October 9

-Welcome, overview, introductions

-Review of authorship guidelines

Data synthesis:

-Overview of research questions and work plan

-Site-level data verification (ongoing throughout workshop)

-Data analysis planning 

Literature Synthesis:

-Database overview

-Conceptual diagramming: what do we expect to find?

Saturday, October 10

Data Synthesis:

-Production of site-specific results

-Formation of analysis plan and preliminary coding

-Introduction: identification of 'big-picture' papers to incorporate

-Methods: drafting (short for MS and full for appendix)

Literature Synthesis:

-Day 1 recap: What is our story?

-Database assessments

-Break-out groups to focus on specific processes at treeline

Sunday, October 11

Data Synthesis:

-Planning and coding for global dataset analysis

-Break-out groups: continue development of introduction and methods

-Group discussion: What is our story? What do we need in order to tell it?

Literature Synthesis:

-Day 2 recap: Has our story changed?

-Break-out groups continue, draft sections with topic sentences and relevant references

-Revision of conceptual diagrams with evidence-gathering from database review

Monday, October 12

Data Synthesis:

-Finalization of global analysis plan and code

-Discussion of the next steps: milestones, work allocation

-Discussion: G-TREE planning for the future

Literature Synthesis:

-Break-out groups continue

-Discussion of the next steps: milestones, work allocation


We anticipate two collaborative papers will be submitted to scientific journals in early 2016:

1. A synthesis of the initial results of G-TREE.

2. A critical review of the current state of knowledge regarding the role of disturbances in shaping treeline ecosystem responses to global change. 

By the close of the workshop, a number of products had been produced working towards the above outcomes and future G-TREE endeavours:

Data Synthesis:

-Database of all G-TREE results to-date

-Database of climate data

-Code for data modelling

-Working outline of G-TREE data synthesis manuscript

-Drafted figures to illustrate G-TREE results

-Assigned tasks for next steps of synthesis

Literature Synthesis:

-Literature database of studies relevant to disturbance at treeline

-Conceptual diagram drafts for manuscript

-Fully drafted framework of literature synthesis paper

-Assigned tasks for next steps

G-TREE network:

-Framework for developing experimental protocols for the next phase of G-TREE