New publication on the impact of management on soil carbon sequestration

Mushrooms on forest soil

A new study, developed in the framework of the HoliSols project, was recently published on Forest Ecology and Management.

The publication synthesises information on forest management practices that can mitigate climate change by increasing soil carbon stocks and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The study also identifies soil processes that affect soil greenhouse gas balance and discusses how models represent forest management effects on soil in greenhouse gas inventories and scenario analyses to address forest climate change mitigation potential.

Read the full article

Reference

Mäkipääa, R., Abramoff, R., Adamczyk, B., Baldy, V., Biryol, C., Bosela, M., Casals, P., Yuste, J.C., Dondini, M., Filipek, S., Garcia-Pausas, J., Gros, R., Gömöryová, E., Hashimoto, S., Hassegawa, M., Immonen, P., Laiho, R., Li, H., Li, Q., Luyssaert, S., Menival, C., Mori, T., Naudts, K., Santonja, M., Smolander, A., Toriyama, J., Tupek, B., Ubeda, X., Verkerk, P.J., Lehtonen, A. 2023. How does management affect soil C sequestration and greenhouse gas fluxes in boreal and temperate forests? – A review. Forest Ecology and Management, 529, 120637. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2022.120637



Soil experiments for kids

Kids doing science experiments

All kids love playing with mud, right? Well, getting stuck into the soil is a great introduction to some great science experiments.  Read on to find out how you can encourage kids to learn how soil can support all life on the planet.

FAO, within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), has published two booklets to inspire children to play with soil and learn more about this crucial resource. The first booklet contains six hands-on science experiments through which children can explore concepts such as soil sampling, soil erosion, water retention, soil gases, soil texture, and the role of earthworms. The second one aims to give children an insight into soil knowledge, focusing on soil salinity. Two easily replicable experiments encourage children to play and discover why salty soils can be a problem for growing food.

Have a look at the two collections of experiments below:

Call for abstracts for IBFRA 2023 – Climate Resilient and Sustainable Forest Management

The call for abstracts is now open for the International Boreal Forest Research Association (IBFRA) Conference on Sustainable and Climate Resilient Forest Management to be held 28-31 August 2023 in Helsinki, Finland.

The bi-annual conference will bring together researchers, companies, policymakers, and members of civil society to discuss the future of boreal forests, the second most extensive terrestrial biome on earth.

The boreal forest is experiencing environmental changes at rates that are unprecedented. Changing climates are increasing disturbances such as wildfires or insect outbreaks. Many boreal ecosystems are shifting to new ecological states, affecting the people who are relying on these ecosystems for subsistence living, cultural practices, economic development or climate stability. This is why the 20th IBFRA conference is focused on Climate resilient and sustainable forest management.

Abstract submissions are welcome for both oral and poster presentations. Please submit your abstract by 30 January 2023.

More information

Adopting a holistic approach to maximise forest-based climate change mitigation

Wood construction

The European Forest Institute published a new study with the title Forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation in Europe in the From Science to Policy series. This analysis focuses on the role of forests and wood use in contributing to mitigate climate change. The 12 authors from 7 different countries conclude that European forests and wood products can play a crucial role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050. However, their potential is not enough to compensate for a lack of actions in other areas.

In particular, the study focuses on the role of forests in the removal of green house gas emissions. Moreover, the authors investigate how to maximise the effectiveness of forests contributions to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The study recommends the adoption of a holistic approach, where multiple forest-base mitigation actions are combined to foster synergies, interactions, co-benefits, and regional applicability.

Read the full open access study

Download the associated policy brief

Reference

Verkerk, P.J., Delacote, P., Hurmekoski, E., Kunttu, J., Matthews, R., Mäkipää, R., Mosley, F., Perugini, L., Reyer, C. P. O., Roe, S., Trømborg, E. 2022. Forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation in Europe. From Science to Policy 14. European Forest Institute https://doi.org/10.36333/fs14



Post-doctoral opportunity in soil element cycles and GHG dynamics

Forest soil

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) is a research organisation working to promote bioeconomy and sustainable use of natural resources. Luke is looking for a post-doctoral researcher focusing on soil element cycles and GHG dynamics. The application deadline is 27 September 2022, at 4.00 pm Finnish time (EEST).

Work tasks

Luke has an open position for a post-doc researcher in a multidisciplinary research group of more than ten scientists. The group develops sustainable land-use and ecosystem management practices in several ongoing projects, including HoliSoils and SOMPA. The projects comprise field experiments on both peatland forests, where varied management regimes (including continuous cover forestry) are tested, and on mineral soils, where ecosystem processes are studied. The group also develops models to predict the impacts on ecosystem water, carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes, especially focusing on peat soils. The post-doctoral researcher will be engaged in an active international collaboration that aims at improving the scientific knowledge base on soil processes and the effects of management practices on forest soils.

The researcher will study how ecosystem management affects soil element cycles, GHG fluxes and their drivers. The work will be focused on processes in managed peatland forests. The researcher will implement a field experiment, where effects of management practices on soil GHG fluxes and drivers of peat decomposition processes are studied, analyse the obtained empirical data, and participate in developing mathematical models that describe soil processes. The researcher will be responsible for scientific writing and reporting of study results as a lead author.

Qualifications

Luke is looking for a highly motivated post-doctoral researcher with good understanding on biogeochemical cycles, soil processes and their drivers. Knowledge on ecosystem studies, experience in GHG data analysis and understanding of soil processes is essential. The applicant should have knowledge on the controls of soil element cycles and how experiments and soil measurements can inform process models. Understanding of peatland microbial processes is an asset. Competence in scientific writing should be proven by a good publication record.

The applicant should be able to steer their own study and experimental work. Good communication skills, as well as an ability to work as a part of international multidisciplinary research team are needed. Data analysis and programming skills (e.g. R, Python) and understanding of microbial analyses and isotope research are advantages.

How to apply?

The reference number for this position is 30-289-2022.

The application deadline is 27 September 2022, 4.00 pm Finnish time (EEST).

Send your digital application

You may also apply for this position by submitting your application to the address below. The job reference of the role must be cited both in the actual application and on the envelope. Applications will not be returned.

Luonnonvarakeskuksen kirjaamo
Latokartanonkaari 9
00790 Helsinki, FINLAND

Please attach your application letter and CV.

More information

How can we strengthen the contribution of forests in reaching EU climate goals?

Wood construction

Details

Start: 3:00 PM (CET) 20 September 2022
End: 4:30 PM (CET) 20 September 2022

Organizer

European Forest Institute
Website: https://efi.int/

Venue

Online / Zoom

Description

The European Union has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% in 2030 and to become climate neutral by 2050. The European Forest Institute organised a ThinkForest event to explore what forests can contribute to achieving these climate goals.

Forests and forestry play three important roles in climate change mitigation. First, reducing deforestation and forest degradation lowers GHG emissions. Second, forest management and restoration can maintain or enhance forest carbon stocks and sinks. Third, improving the use of wood products can store carbon over the long-term, and avoid emissions by substituting emissions-intensive materials.

Our ThinkForest event will ask:

  • How much can forest-based activities contribute to climate change mitigation?
  • What role do policies play?
  • How can we maximise forest-based climate change mitigation nationally/locally?

In this occasion, the coordinator of the ForestPaths-project, Hans Verkerk, will present a new study titled “Forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation in Europe”.

New public consultation for an EU Soil Health Law

soil with sprouts

The European Commission has opened a new public consultation to gather input from citizens and stakeholders on a possible EU Soil Health Law.

As part of the EU Soil Strategy 2030, the European Commission is preparing a new legislative proposal on soil health. Currently, all stakeholders interested are invited to express their views on this initiative by taking part in this public consultation through an online EU survey.

Find out more about this possible soil health law on the European Commission’s website and consult the EU Have Your Say portal to keep up with the developments of the initiative.

Fill out the survey by 24 October 2022!

New publication on how soil recovers from forest fires

Forest Fire

A new article, from the framework of the Holisoils project, sheds light on how forest fires can alter the biological properties of soil.

Soil microbial communities are crucial in the carbon and nutrient cycle of forests, and scientific research has shown that forest fires can cause a change in these communities. This paper studied what effect the temperature of soil has on its microbial functions.

Two hypotheses were tested: whether forest fires reduce the catabolic functional diversity of soil and whether plant growth after a fire enhances soil recovery. Experiments were conducted on forest soil heated at 200°C or 450°C. Samples were also incubated in tubs with or without live grass.

The authors found that soil heating reduces the microbial functions of soil, because it affects the capacity of microbial communities to make use of organic substrates. Although soils heated at different temperatures behaved differently, in both cases forest fires decreased soil functional diversity. At the same time, soil heating enhanced the availability of nutrients, fostering plant growth. Consequently, plant growth helped the functional diversity of soil to recovery. Moreover, this study draws a link between the recovery of soil functional diversity and the recovery of photosynthetic tissues.

Concluding, the paper emphasises that, after a forest fire, the interactions between soil and plants play a key role for the recovery of soil functionality and, therefore, for ecosystem functions.

Read the full article

Reference

Garcia-Pausas, J., Romanyà, J., & Casals, P., 2022. Post-fire recovery of soil microbial functions is promoted by plant growth. European Journal of Soil Science, 73(4), e13290.



Get to know the European Union’s Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’

roots of a tree in the soil

Soils are crucial for strong biodiversity, functional food systems, clean water, and climate resilience. However, only between 30% and 40% of the soils in the European Union are estimated to be healthy: a careful soil management is therefore necessary to safeguard this precious resource for our future.

To lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030, A Soil Deal for Europe was established with the goal to set up one hundred living labs and lighthouses. These facilities are places where experts can experiment on the ground and their aim is to co-produce knowledge, test solutions, and determine their value in real-life circumstances.

Moreover, this EU Mission intends to achieve this transition towards healthy soils by funding research and innovations, establish a common European framework for soil monitoring, and raising awareness of the relevance of soils.

Discover more details on living labs and lighthouses, the full list of objectives of the mission and its relevance for the Sustainable Development Goals and the European Green Deal.

Read the Mission Implementation Plan to discover the details on how these goals can be achieved.

How soil can help save the world

Forest Soil

Soil science is not usually considered the most exciting discipline by the general public. Many people – including in the science world – have underestimated what is beneath our feet.

However, we are now in the International Decade of Soils, and it is time to shine a light on the role of soil in providing food security, supporting biodiversity and mitigating climate change. This article from the BBC showcases how Pete Smith, Professor of Soil and Global Change at the University of Aberdeen, makes the study of soil appealing, for instance, considering how wetlands and peatlands are the “Cinderella” of climate change mitigation.

Read on to find a myriad of ways in which soil can indeed help save the world.

How soil can help save the world, BBC Radio 4 in Four, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/39xtyKjNyrGSGhVTMZjPLkv/how-soil-can-help-save-the-world