Matter cycling and nutrient efficiency in mixed and pure stands

PhD student

Estela Foltran

Research Outline

One possibility to meet the challenge of contrasting society demands in forest management may be to establish mixed forest stands composed of locally native tree species and highly productive tree species growing outside of their native range. Here we focus on European temperate forests. In detail, European beech forests and mixtures of European beech (Fagus sylvatica, native in Europe) and Norway spruce (Picea abies, native in Europe) and European beech and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii, non-native in Europe) will be studied. It is hypothesized that mixtures of European beech with conifers show higher functional diversity than pure European beech stands, resulting in changing ecosystem functioning.

Previous studies showed that mixed-species forest sites (conifers with beech) had larger soil organic C stocks than pure stands and that conifer admixtures increased C stock and C/N ratio. However, not much is known about the nutrient mobilization, nutrient availability, nutrient cycling as well nutrient use efficiency in European beech and conifer stands, growing in pure compared to mixed stands.


  • EnriCo-Collaboration is ongoing with SP 5-1 and SP 6-1, where we investigate the effect of soil condition on mesofauna community and foliar damage. Additionally, I am working close with the second cohort PhD student of SP 3, Klara Mrak (SP 3-2). She is now responsible for two experiments I installed in 2018, both are related to nutrient cycling processes (for more details, please check SP 3-2)
  • An external collaboration with the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory/Colorado State University (CSU) started in 2019, mainly focusing in apply the POM dataset from German soils in the MEMs model developed by CSU.

Principal Investigator / Supervisor

Prof. Norbert Lamersdorf, Soil Science of temperate ecosystems, Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology