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. changes in temperature and rainfall, increased nutrient deposition, and land-use changes).
As today's environmental problems can only be studied and solved through interdisciplinary approaches, our group collaborates with many scientists in other disciplines.
Central hypothesis: spatial and/or temporal imbalances in fluxes of nutrients in ecosystems are the major causes of environmental problems and unsustainability of land uses.
- Impact of global change processes (e.g. increased N deposition, land-use change, changes in temperature and rainfall) on soil processes and forest 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 forests: trace gas exchange and nitrogen cycling
- Biogeochemistry of deeply-weathered tropical soils
- Interaction between vegetation diversity and soil nutrients
- Natural gradients are used to obtain a better understanding of the functioning of ecosystems at a landscape scale: chronosequences of deforestation and afforestation, toposequences, and gradients of nutrient and climatic conditions.
- Ecosystem-scale experiments are used for prognostic analyses of climate- and nutrient-change effects on ecosystem processes: throughfall exclusion and nutrient addition.