Get ready for the Wageningen Soil Conference 2023

Wageningen Soil Conference

The fifth edition of the Wageningen Soil Conference will take place between 28 August and 1 September 2023. The conference, organised by Wageningen University & Research and ISRIC, has an interactive character with conference sessions as well as workshops on many different soil-related topics. The focus of the conference will be on working together on solutions for a sustainable world.  

The four conference days are divided into different topics:

  • Soils for society;
  • Advances in measuring and modeling soil processes;
  • Mapping and evaluation of soil dunctions across scales;
  • Soils for nature-based solutions.

The programme for 2023 will consist of keynote presentations and parallel sessions in the mornings, masterclasses in the afternoons, fantastic side events, and much more.

During the fifth edition of the Wageningen Soil Conference, a wide range of scientific and interactive masterclasses will be offered in the afternoons. The call for ideas on organsing these masterclasses is now open. Submit your proposal by 12 December!

The registrations for the Conference will open in March 2023.

Read more about the Wageningen Soil Conference

Two open positions on Climate-Smart Forestry at EFI

Aerial view of a forest in autumn

The European Forest Institute (EFI) is looking for two researchers to work on Climate-Smart Forestry.

To reinforce EFI’s Bioeconomy Programme, EFI is seeking a Researcher on Climate-Smart Forestry and a Researcher / Senior Researcher on social sciences in Climate-Smart Forestry.

Both positions will be based at EFI’s headquarters in Joensuu, Finland. The researchers will work in different EU-funded projects. In particular, the Researcher on Climate-Smart Forestry will also contribute to the HoliSoils project.

The deadline for applications is 9 January 2023.

Read more on these and other positions open at EFI

European projects join forces to tackle the impact of climate change on forests

Meeting in Germany

Over 30 researchers from 8 EU-funded projects are working together to come up with strategies to fight climate change and deal with its impacts on forests. Several HoliSoils researchers attended the meeting which took place on 16-18 November in Freising, Germany. Joining HoliSoils were experts from the research projects ForestPaths, CLIMB-Forest, FORWARDS, FORECO, WildE, RESCUE, and ForMII.

The focus of the meeting was how existing simulation models for forests and land use (like EFISCEN-space, LPJ-GUESS and CRAFTY) should be improved. Participants identified some major topics, for instance how forest disturbances such as storms, wildfire and insect outbreaks, as well as climate-smart forest management practices, could be included in such advanced simulation models.

The meeting gave researchers the opportunity to identify important next steps on how the projects can support each other. The event proved to very fruitful, and a similar meeting has been planned in approximately a year from now.

Post-doctoral opportunity in forest soil biological activity and GHG exchange

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 14 December 2022, at 4.00 pm Finnish time (EET).

Job Description

Luke has open positions for 1-2 post-doc researchers in a multidisciplinary research team, which develops sustainable land-use and ecosystem management practices. The team has several ongoing international projects (including Benchmarks and HoliSoils), where it executes field experiments on both peatland and upland forests to test management regimes and to study ecosystem processes. The team develops models to predict management impacts on ecosystem water, carbon and GHG fluxes. The post-doctoral researcher will be engaged in an active international collaboration that aims at improving the scientific knowledge about soil processes, soil indicators, and the effects of management on forest soils.

The researcher will study how forest management affects soil element cycles, GHG fluxes and their drivers. The researcher will:

  1. Implement field experiment, where effects of management practices on soil biological activity and GHG fluxes are studied;
  2. Analyze obtained empirical data;
  3. Evaluate and develop soil indicators;
  4. Participate in developing mathematical models that describe soil processes.

The researcher will also be responsible for scientific writing and reporting of the results as a lead author.

The vacancy is initially for 2 years with a possibility of one year continuation (2+1).

Qualifications

Luke is seeking a highly motivated post-doctoral researcher with good understanding on biogeochemical cycles, soil processes and their drivers (including microbial communities and their processes). Knowledge on ecosystem studies, experience in GHG data analysis and understanding of soil processes is essential. The applicant should have knowledge on the factors that control soil element cycles, and also understand how experiments and soil measurements can inform process models. Understanding of peatland microbial processes is an asset. Competence in scientific writing has to be shown by a good publication record.

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

Read more about this open position and find out how to apply

Opportunity for a PhD candidate in molecular ecology

Extreme drought experiment site

The group Ecophysiology of Plants at LSAI and TUM School of Life Sciences are looking for a Ph.D. student interested in the relationships between the fitness of forest trees and the diversity of their rhizospheres by using multi-community DNA barcoding. Your tasks include establishing and applying novel sequencing approaches for rhizosphere community analyses and data evaluation integrating tree growth data.

Your topic will be to uncover relationships between tree growth and rhizosphere biodiversity. You will investigate the biodiversity of complex rhizosphere communities and their relationship with tree growth dynamics using natural forest sites throughout Bavaria and an experimental site for testing extreme drought. A combination of novel community sequencing approaches for root associated microorganisms, data from long-term forest monitoring, and addi-tionally collected tree growth data will uncover interrelationships between stand growth, biodiversity conservation and climate suitability of the trees and make them usable for forestry measures under changing climate.

If you are interested in joining the team, please apply by 22 November 2022.

Read more about this opportunity and find out how to apply

HoliSoils surveys on soil vulnerability to natural disturbances

Forest soil and muchrooms

Holisoils launched a set of three surveys to collect expert opinions on how natural disturbances may affect soil variables.

The main objective of these surveys is to understand the extent to which soils might be vulnerable to an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disturbances (e.g. fire, drought, tree mortality, etc.) as a result of anthropogenic climate change.

These questionnaires will serve many different purposes. Given the limited knowledge about which physical, chemical and biological soil characteristics are most vulnerable to the impact of natural disturbances, the survey will fill current gaps in our understanding of potential threats to soil functioning. Secondly, the surveys aim to compare the different opinions and views on soil vulnerability of experts coming from different soil science disciplines or geographical contexts.

Take the surveys now:

Get ready for World Soil Day 2022!

World Soil Day

World Soil Day is celebrated on 5 December to promote awareness on the importance of healthy soils and their sustainable management. The first official World Soil Day was celebrated in 2014, and since then FAO, within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), organizes this event every year.

The 2022 edition focuses on the relation between soil and nutrition, with a campaign under the theme “Soils: Where food begins“. As the loss of nutrients in the soil threatens global food security and sustainability, this year’s campaign aims to focus attention on how to keep ecosystems and people healthy by managing soil and raising awareness about this resource.

Discover more on the World Soil Day 2022

Follow @holisoils and #WorldSoilDay on Twitter to keep up to date with this event!

Enjoying the trainee experience with HoliSoils

Trainee in the field

Among the many people involved in HoliSoils, there are also young researchers and trainees who are increasing their knowledge and skills through the activities of this project. Jakub Tomes, a trainee at Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) involved with HoliSoils’ field experiment in Finland, described his experience with these words:

“As a part of a LUKE’s working group I participated in measuring GHG emissions from forest soils. We measured CO2 and methane fluxes with LI-COR devices across southern Finland on different sites such as Tammela and Nastola. And also as a member of LUKE’s team I was helping with taking deep core samples and soil samples seeving from drained peatland at Ränskalalankorpi.

This traineeship has given me better and deeper understanding of respiration of forest soils. I have learned how to work with LI-COR and the traineeship has helped me cope with problems in the field conditions fast.

I hope I will have the opportunity to be a part of their team again.” 

Discover more news and opportunities from HoiliSoils

Luke is a research organisation working to promote bioeconomy and sustainable use of natural resources. Have a look at their open vacancies!

Discover soil biodiversity listening to the Life in the Soil podcast

Life in the Soil

The podcast Life in the Soil brings you the insights and voices of some of the world’s best soil scientists. The six available episodes explore soil biodiversity, why it matters, and how we can protect it. The podcast was produced by the Rillig Lab (Freie Universität Berlin – Institut für Biologie) in collaboration with podcaster Anja Krieger, and it was funded through the BiodivERsA project Digging Deeper.

The first episode, with the contribution of soil scientist Johannes Lehmann, focuses on the role of soil in hosting biodiversity below the ground: this natural habitat is crucial to support many different ecosystems. In the second episode, insights from Katie FieldToby KiersBala Chaudhary, shed light on the fascinating word of mushrooms and fungi, and their close relations with plants. The third and fourth installments of the podcast explore the many components and organisms that constitute soil and which technological innovations can help us to understand soil better. The many threats posed to soil by human activities are investigated in the fifth episode, while the last conversation focuses on how to ensure a sustainable future for soils ecosystems, from rural areas to cities.

Listen to the full episodes on iTunes, Google Podcasts and Spotify!

Source

Matthias Rillig and Anja Krieger, Life in the Soil Audio Podcast, Rillig Lab, https://rilliglab.org/podcast/



Researchers propose ectomycorrhizal fungi’s role to be integrated into carbon accounting 

Mushroom

Researchers from the University of Helsinki, Natural Resources Institute Finland and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences propose that the role of the ectomycorrhizal fungi should be taken into account in models of carbon accounting.

A new study led by the University of Helsinki provides evidence that the observed decline of carbon use efficiency and net ecosystem exchange from south to north in the boreal forest may be caused by the abundance of ectomycorrhizal fungi. 

The proposed approach could easily be included in carbon balance models for quantifying ectomycorrhizal fungi carbon use without having to engage in more complex analysis of carbon and nutrient interactions underlying ectomycorrhizal fungi processes. 

“The results of the study underline the need for a better understanding of the role of micro-organisms as users of carbon but also as a machinery generating carbon residues that may have longer lifespans,” says the first author of the study Annikki Mäkelä from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki. 

The study suggests that this approach can improve prediction of biomass growth across different soils with different microbial composition.  

More accurate prediction of biosphere carbon sinks

According to researchers these features of ectomycorrhizal fungi as carbon consumers and litter producers should also be incorporated into global vegetation models in order to have more precise and accurate prediction of biosphere carbon sinks and their feedbacks to climate change.  

Carbon use efficiency, i.e., the ratio between net and gross primary production, describes the efficiency of vegetation to accumulate photosynthetic carbon to biomass. Other uses of carbon include maintenance and construction respiration. In this study, ectomycorrhizal fungi were included as additional consumers of plant-originating carbon. 

Read the full article

Reference

Mäkelä A., Tian X., Repo A., Ilvesniemi H., Marshall J., Minunno F., Näsholm T., Schiestl-Aalto P., Lehtonen A. 2022. Do mycorrhizal symbionts drive latitudinal trends in photosynthetic carbon use efficiency and carbon sequestration in boreal forests? Forest Ecology and Management, 520:120355.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2022.120355

Contact Information

Annikki Mäkelä

Tel. +358 41 5106515
https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/forest-modelling

Aleksi Lehtonen

Tel: +358503912362
Twitter: @aleksi_luke
https://holisoils.eu

John Marshall

Tel: +46 722480477