Career Opportunity in Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology at the University of Helsinki

people working

The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences of the University of Helsinki is seeking applications for the position of Professor or Assistant/Associate Professor in Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology.

The candidate is expected to have a strong track record in the field of terrestrial ecosystem ecology and to be committed to excellence in research, research training and undergraduate education.

The deadline for applications is 29 February 2024.

Find out all the details about this opportunity!

HoliSoils in the spotlight of the Horizon Magazine

forest soil

‘Soils really matter but they are understudied, especially forest soils.’ This quote by Raisa Mäkipää, HoliSoils’ coordinator from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), opens a new piece in the Horizon Magazine featuring HoliSoils. This publication gives visibility to inspiring innovations and science insights coming from research projects funded by the EU.

The piece dives into the HoliSoils’s work in the Dobroč test site, where Michal Bošela from the Technical University in Zvolen and his team are exploring the difference in forest soils between monocultures and old-growth forest with its mix of tree species.

Check out the full piece on the Horizon Magazine!

Become Luke’s new Principal Scientist in forest soil science

Mushroom in a forest

HoliSoils’ project coordinator Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) is looking for a Principal Scientist to strengthen soil research in the institute. The selected candidate will work to develop and lead Luke’s research on carbon and nutrient cycling processes in forest soils on mineral soil sites, and how these processes are controlled.

The research will focus on soil carbon and nutrient cycling processes, nutrient availability, and organic matter quality. The objective is to better understand the linkages between these factors, and their significance both for the biomass production of forest ecosystems and for the environmental and climate impacts. The main focus should be on the response of soil processes and properties to forest management in changing environment and climate.

The position of Principal Scientist is permanent. The tasks include planning and leading research projects and working in those, as well as developing both field and laboratory methods connected to the research topics. The Principal Scientist is expected to publish at international scientific level, acquire research funding and be active in both national and international collaboration networks.

The deadline for applications is 23 February 2024, 16:00 Finnish time.

Read all the details on this opportunity & discover how to apply!

HoliSoils finds proposed soil health indicator lacking

Distribution of the soil organic carbon (SOC) and clay content for different land covers (cropland, forest, and grassland).

As MEPs discuss a major new law for soil health in Europe, HoliSoils researchers report that one of the proposed soil health indicators is not fit for purpose.

HoliSoils researchers are actively contributing to the current discussion on EU soil monitoring law Soil health – European Commission by testing one of the proposed soil health indicators.

In a pre-print of a forthcoming publication, project coordinators Raisa Mäkipää and Aleksi Lehtonen, with other consortium members and in collaboration with researchers from the Horizon Europe Benchmarks project, have found that the organic carbon-to-clay ratio, proposed as part of the new law for measuring soil carbon, is not a reliable indicator of soil health.

The operational monitoring of soil carbon is vital for improving soil-based ecosystem services, as identified in the Paris Climate Agreement and other national commitments. As substantial fractions of European soils are unhealthy, new regulation is needed. The European Union is committed to enhancing soil health, and the European Commission is currently defining a new Soil Monitoring Law, recommending the monitoring of soil carbon loss, among other soil health indicators.

The study for publication, carried out through the HoliSoils and Benchmarks projects, evaluates the feasibility of the proposed soil carbon loss indicator by assessing its performance using the EU-wide 2009 LUCAS soil survey data. The results are also compared with the soil carbon stock changes reported by countries to the climate convention (UNFCCC).

Results reveal that differences in the soil organic carbon (SOC) and clay content at European scale is in fact greater than that of the data used to develop the proposed indicator. Furthermore, the variation in SOC content was influenced not only by clay content but also by climate and land-use. Other observations included discrepancies between the soil carbon stock changes reported by the national GHG inventories and the proportions of degraded soils identified by using the soil health indicator.

These findings led the researchers to conclude that the indicator proposed by the European Commission for the Soil Monitoring Law cannot adequately monitor the loss of soil carbon. A single indicator such as SOC:Clay ratio, with one threshold value for all soils across various land covers, management practices, and climatic conditions, is unable to respond to the variety of soils, climates and uses across Europe, and is thus inappropriate for monitoring soil carbon loss.

The EU Soil Monitoring Law will next be discussed by MEPs and stakeholders in the EU Parliament on 31 January 2024: Soil Monitoring for Better Knowledge – Renew Europe (reneweuropegroup.eu).  HoliSoils researchers remain committed to continue providing scientific knowledge to inform this ongoing process for a new soil monitoring law that will best support Europe its important pledge for healthy soils. 

Read the full pre-print!

Reference

Mäkipää, Raisa and Menichetti, Lorenzo and Martínez-García, Eduardo and Törmänen, Tiina and Lehtonen, Aleksi, Is the Organic Carbon-to-Clay Ratio a Reliable Indicator of Soil Health?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4681574 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4681574

HoliSoils Season’s Greetings 2023!


The dedication and collaboration of all HoliSoils partners contributed to making 2023 a very productive and rewarding year for the project. To celebrate the continued efforts of our partners, the latest HoliSoils festive video takes a brief look back at the highlights of the year, with a “multilingual” twist and wishes the consortium, stakeholders and supporters a happy holiday season!

Enjoy the video!

New research published on new protocols for fungal biomass estimation

Fungi plays a critical role in soil organic matter decomposition and stabilisation. Thus, precise tools to estimate fungal biomass are of crucial importance for understanding soil carbon dynamics.

A research team from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke Finland) provides in this study a step forward in fungal biomass estimation with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and a comparison of extraction methods. Precise measurements of fungal biomass in line with fungal activities are essential for accurately describing the C cycle of terrestrial ecosystems.

Reference

Adamczyk S., Lehtonen A., Mäkipää R., Adamczyk B., 2023. A step forward in fungal biomass estimation – a new protocol for more precise measurements of soil ergosterol with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and comparison of extraction methods, New Phytologist

Check all HoliSoils publications here!

European Mission Soil Week: leading the transition towards healthy soils

European Mission Soil Week participants

HoliSoils project joined hundreds of soil-focussed stakeholders at the hugely successful European Mission Soil Week (EMSW).

The inaugural edition of what will become an annual event took place this year at the central facilities of the Spanish National Research Council (INIA-CSIC) in Madrid on 21 – 23 November. The event was held under the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council, as soil health is an important issue for the Presidency.

EMSW 2023 offered a key meeting and networking place for an ever-growing soil health community, fostering awareness, exchange, discussion, co-creation and action. Participants included scientists, researchers, policymakers, farmers, foresters, national, regional and municipal authorities, technology specialists, entrepreneurs, and citizens passionate about soil health.

With a blend of inspiring keynote speakers, parallel sessions, panels, debates and space for working groups, EMSW 2023 enabled stakeholders to discuss the challenges and co-create solutions for restoring and preserving healthy soils, taking inspiration from good practices from Europe and beyond.

EMSW will become the annual gathering of the EU Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’ (Mission Soil) which aims to raise awareness about the importance of preserving and restoring soil health and to encourage action to improve soil health. This year’s event was organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) together with the Joint Research Centre – EU Soil Observatory (EUSO) and the EU-funded project PREPSOIL which facilitates the deployment of the EU Soil Mission across European regions.

HoliSoils is collaborating with various soil-related projects funded by the EU, both through the Mission Soil initiative and other preceding mechanisms, to identify complementary activities, share results and pool stakeholder interactions for increased impact and maximum efficiency for project outputs, towards better outcomes for sustainable soil health.

ESA Symposium on Earth observation for soil protection and restoration

ESA Symposium on Earth observation for soil protection and restoration

In the context of the EU soil strategy for 2030, the European Space Agency (ESA) is committed to monitor and service the soil restauration requirements with the Earth observation means and technologies set in place, particularly through Copernicus.

Don’t miss this chance to participate in the ESA Symposium on Earth observation for soil protection and restoration that will take place in Frascati, near Rome (Italy), on 6 and 7 March 2024.

This will be the occasion to share your expertise and contributions to the many key topics at the center of the discussion:

  1. EU Soil policy and Earth Observation: institutional implementation, research, industry, and technology.
  2. Monitoring soil parameters: EO as a trustworthy technique.
  3. Soil Organic Carbon Monitoring: data sources, prediction algorithms, handling of uncertainties.
  4. Soil carbon certification to the light of edge technologies and soil business models.
  5. Advanced satellite instrumentation for soil health.
  6. Soil data and methodologies: AI, geo-statistics, spectroscopy, machine learning and other.
  7. Towards a Copernicus soil monitoring service portfolio.
  8. Remote Sensing of soils: validation methods for agro-policies.
  9. Show-casing potential soil carbon removals in various LULC types, in the short and long terms.

Read more information about the event and register your contribution by 3 December 2023!

New survey on the current soil monitoring systems in support of the Soil Monitoring Law

Forest soil with dogtooth violet.

On 5 July 2023, the European Commission submitted a proposal to establish an European Soil Monitoring Law to foster the protection, restoration, and sustainable use of soils. A new report from the European Parliament is currently proposing several amendments to the original Commission’s text.

Your help is now needed to contribute to the assessment on the capacity of your own European Country to implement such law. To do so, a quick survey (only 6 questions) was developed in the framework of the SOLO Project and of the Soil Biodiversity Observation Network (SoilBON) as part of their contribution to existing legislation.

This questionnaire is based on the report from the European Parliament to collect contributions for an European overview and create a community of people that can be mobilized for this monitoring effort.

Fill out the survey and distribute it through your networks by 1 December 2023!

EGU24: The role of forest management and soils in meeting climate change mitigation goals

EGU flags

The General Assembly 2024 of the European Geosciences Union (EGU 2024) will bring together scientists and especially early career researchers from all over the world to discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience from 14-19 April (Vienna, Austria, and online). This event will include a session on forest management and soils for climate change mitigation organised by members of the HoliSoils consortium.

Apply now to join HoliSoils’ session on the effects of forest management on soil carbon sequestration!

Submit your abstracts to the session ‘The role of forest management and soils in meeting climate change mitigation goals’ organised by researchers from HoliSoils’ project coordinator Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

This session will explore the current understanding of the effects of forest management on soil carbon sequestration and other processes to develop effective forest-based climate change mitigation strategies.

The session invites experimental and modelling contributions to address the knowledge gaps still remaining and will focus on:

  1. Advancing knowledge concerning the effects of forest management on soil carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas balances, biodiversity, nutrient stocks, organic matter quality, water resources, and stabilisation processes.
  2. Enhancing comprehension of the impacts of natural disturbances and preventing forest management on soil functioning and resilience.
  3. Improving understanding of modelling on the potential of forest management to mitigate climate change.

The Call for Abstracts for EGU24 is open until 10 January 2024 (13:00 CET)!

Read more and learn how you can contribute!