Soil Resources in the Environment and Climate System
Soils are – together with air and water – one of the most vital elements for sustaining human life. Yet today, soils can only partly fulfill their functions in the earth and climate system, and on a global scale, more than 25 percent of the surface area is affected by deteriorating soil quality. The primary goal of the interdisciplinary research conducted at the CEN is to arrive at a deeper, process-based understanding of how land use and climate change impact soil resources. Further, observations and models are used as the basis for devising new strategies to promote sustainable soil use and integrated soil protection, helping to safeguard water and food supply in the future.
MediAN – Mechanisms of Ecosysteme Services in Hardwood Floodplain Forests
Hardwood forests are species-rich, yet endangered ecosystems in Central Europe and are offering valuable ecosystem services. Among others, they are making a contribution to water retention and are storing carbon in biomass and soils. In the survey area along the Middle Elbe River, we investigate the diversity and carbon sequestration in differently aged hardwood forests and the hydrologic balance as a key location factor.
TOPSOIL – Towards Improving Food Security for Smallholders in Dry Southern African Climates
For small peasant farming in sub-Saharan Africa low productivity of crop growing and declining soil fertility is a general problem. The objective? of the joint project TOPSOIL is the introduction of an adjusted rhizobium inoculant for legumes and to examine its possible effects on soil characteristics. Atmospheric nitrogen fixating symbiosis of legumes and fodder legumes with rhizobium can enable an important input of nitrogen and organic material. This process is currently not used in a targeted manner in the survey area of the Kavango Region. The objective is the introduction of a rhizobium inoculant that is also suitable for even more exacerbated conditions in the future in the context of climate change.
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KopF – Carbon in Permafrost
Due to global climate change, permafrost regions in northern Siberia are thawing increasingly. One possible outcome: Carbon stored in the soil is converted into greenhouse gases and released. Does this additionally enforce climate change? Or do better growing plants enhance carbon sequestration and thus greenhouses gases are overall reduced? These possible outcomes of thawing permafrost soil and better prognoses for future developments are the pivot of the Russian-German joint project “KoPf – Carbon in Permafrost”, that is sponsored with 1.5 million Euros by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Duration: 2017 – 2020
Project Lead: Prof. Dr. Eva-Maria Pfeiffer
Sponsor: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research