Ökopedologie der Tropen und Subtropen

Research interests

Long-term Goal: to contribute to our understanding of how natural (e.g. forest, grassland) and managed (e.g. agricultural, agroforestry, pasture, tree plantation) ecosystems are affected by global change processes (e.g. land-use change, variations in temperature and rainfall regimes, increases in nutrient depositions).
As today's environmental problems can only be investigated and solved through interdisciplinary approaches, my group collaborates with scientists in other disciplines.


SoilviewCentral hypothesis: spatial and/or temporal imbalances in fluxes of nutrients in ecosystems are the major causes of environmental problems and unsustainability of land uses.







Research Foci:

  • Impact of global change processes (e.g. land-use change, increases in nutrient depositions, changes in temperature and rainfall regimes) on soil nutrient cycling processes and net primary productivity
  • Carbon, nitrogen and nutrient fluxes in tropical ecosystems
  • Ecosystem functions of agroforestry systems
  • Soil-atmosphere exchange of trace gases (N2O, NO, CH4, CO2)
  • Canopy soil and epiphytes in tropical ecosystems: trace gas exchange and nitrogen cycling
  • Biogeochemistry of deeply-weathered tropical soils
  • Interaction between vegetation species diversity, soil nutrient availability, and nutrient cycling processes



Approach:

  • Natural gradients are used to obtain a better understanding of the functioning of ecosystems at a landscape scale: space-for-time substitution approach for land-use change investigations, chronosequences of deforestation and afforestation, toposequences, and gradients of nutrient and climatic conditions.
  • Ecosystem-scale experiments are used for finding sustainable alternatives to conventional agricultural paractices and for prognostic analyses of climate- and nutrient-change effects on ecosystem processes: large-scale agricultural management trials, throughfall exclusion, and nutrient addition.