Maurizio Mencuccini

Maurizio Mencuccini

Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions Forestals

Experimental Sciences & Mathematics

BSc Forest Science at University of Firenze (Italy, 1992). Research Associate at Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura (Italy, 1992). PhD in plant environmental biology at the University of Firenze (Italy, 1993-1995). Postdoc at Boyce Thompson at Cornell University (USA, 1995-1997). Lecturer, senior Lecturer, Reader, then Professor of Forest Science at Edinburgh University (UK, 1997-2016). ICREA Research Professor of Plant and Ecosystem Ecology at CREAF (Barcelona, Spain) since 2012. Visiting scientist positions at CSIRO (Australia) and Western Sydney University (Australia). Honorary Professor of Forest Science at University of Edinburgh (UK, 2016-ongoing). Since 2018, ranked as a Highly Cited Researcher (top 1% by citations) in the field of Plant and Animal Science by Clarivate Analytics. Ranked among the top Italian Scientists in the area of Natural & Environmental Science by Via-Academy (

Research interests

I work at the frontier between plant biology and environmental sciences, at the interface with global change. My major contributions to science are in the study of the carbon and water cycles of forests, across Boreal, temperate, tropical and Mediterranean biomes of Europe, the Americas, Australia and Africa. I have authored more than 250 peer-reviewed papers. I am very involved in debates concerning how more severe droughts, as a consequence of climate change, can accelerate tree mortality. One area of major contribution has been in identifying the processes by which plant physiological properties affect the likelihood of survival following extreme drought events. I am also very interested in how canopies of forest trees can act as filters of atmospheric nitrogen deposition via their leaf microbiome. I have supervised more than 40 scientists, of whom more than 20 are still active in senior academic positions or universities. I have spoken at several high-profile conferences.

Selected publications

- Sanchez-Martinez P, Mencuccini M, Garcia-Valdes R, et al. 2023, 'Increased hydraulic risk in assemblages of woody plant species predicts spatial patterns of drought-induced mortality', Nature Ecology & Evolution, 7, 1620–1632.

- Martínez-Vilalta J, García-Valdés R, Jump A, Vilà-Cabrera A & Mencuccini M 2023, 'Accounting for trait variability and coordination in predictions of drought-induced range shifts in woody plants', New Phytologist, .

- Tavares JV, Oliveira RS, Mencuccini M, et al. 2023, 'Basin-wide variation in tree hydraulic safety margins predicts the carbon balance of Amazon forests', Nature, 617, 7959, 111.117.

- Fernandez-de-Una L, Martinez-Vilalta J, Poyatos R, Mencuccini M & McDowell NG 2023, 'The role of height-driven constraints and compensations on tree vulnerability to drought', New Phytologist, 239, 6, 2083-2098.

- Xu WB, Guo WY, Serra-Diaz JM, et al.  2023, 'Global beta-diversity of angiosperm trees is shaped by Quaternary climate change', Science Advances, 9, 14, eadd8553.

- Rowland L, Ramírez-Valiente JA, Hartley IP & Mencuccini M 2023, 'How woody plants adjust above- and below-ground traits in response to sustained drought', New Phytologist, 239(4):1173-1189.