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



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

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:

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

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

Review on greenhouse gas reporting in European forest soils

Makowski & Wellbrock poster

In the framework of the HoliSoils project, the Thuenen Institute is working on the soil monitoring framework. In particular, their work focuses on reviewing European GHG reporting in forest soils, developing guidelines for harmonized soil sampling methods for future reporting and providing a server for open-access harmonized European maps of forest soil properties. Furthermore, they developed a survey for GHG experts to gain their suggestions for improvement concerning GHG reporting.

Their work mainly focuses on carbon (C) data from forest soils remaining forest soils and differentiates between mineral and organic soils. On this poster, Vera Makowski and Nicole Wellbrock give an overview of the most important findings of the review process and the resultant actions within HoliSoils.

Read more on the full poster

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.