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May 2018 - September 2022
Universitatea Transilvania Brasov / Faculty of Silviculture and Forest Engineering
- PostDoc Position
- PI of the PD NATIvE (PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2016-0583) and TE REASONING (PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2019-1099) projects
September 2008 - November 2013
Autonomous University of Barcelona, CREAF
Field of study
The forestry practices to which the Atlantic forests of the Iberian Peninsula have been subjected to in the last century have generated a forest dominated by monospecific plantations of exotic species (especially Eucalyptus globulus from Australia and Pinus radiata from California, Unites States). This trend has perpetuated the loss of both plant and animal biodiversity and the proliferation of forest diseases and fires, along with important losses of soil functioning, soil biodiversity, and soil organic matter (soil erosion), which have increased the incidence of floods and landslides. The ATLANTIS project aims to develop knowledge to reverse these current trends that call into question the long-term soil conservation of the Iberian Atlantic Forests, the stability of these forest ecosystems and the sustainable provision of key ecosystem services. With these purposes in mind, this coordinated project proposal has been designed: (1) to collect robust evidence on how, and to which extent, the current forestry practices determine trends of soil erosion, including losses of soil physical (e.g. soil structure, water infiltration), chemical (e.g. nutrient content, soil organic matter) and biological (soil microbiota diversity and functioning) properties; (2) to link the current status of soil conservation with tree and ecosystem health and with key ecosystem services that forests provide; (3) to develop smart, ecologically friendly forest management practices, which could improve soil conservation and hence the long-term sustainability of the Iberian Atlantic Forests; and (4) to develop tools that may be used to detect early stages of forest vulnerability in order to understand current trends and improve decision-making to optimize forest conservation
Recent studies have pointed out old-growth forests (OGF) as globally important carbon (C) sinks. However, important knowledge gaps, regarding OGF pools and mechanisms of C sequestration, remain. An example in this regard is the role of forest woody debris (WD, fallen dead trees and remains of dead branches on the forest floor), a potentially large but mainly unknown OGF C sink. DeWooD pretends to study in detail the WD contribution to total ecosystem C budgets using a temperate OGF European beech-silver fir. The goals of DeWooD are to better understand: (1) the WD contribution to OGF C stocks; (2) the controls of WD decay by exploring the interactive role of climate, wood traits, decomposers (fungi, saproxylic insects), and deadwood inhabiting organisms (bryophytes). DeWooD’s novelty relies on combining field inventories with different methods to estimate seasonal variations of: rates of WD decay (mass losses, CO2 production) and abiotic and biotic controls of WD decay. DeWooD’s results will provide accurate process-based predictions of the C sink capacity of OGF and accurate estimates of the vulnerability to climate change of key ecosystem compartments (e.g. WD, saproxylic insects, bryophytes) and key processes (WD decay), largely unknown contributors to the OGF C sink capacity. DeWooD will therefore define practical guidelines for forest ecosystem management regarding C sequestration and reduction of the amount of C stored in forests with the aim to mitigate climate change.
The project IBERYCA brings together an international and multidisciplinary team of experts (microbial ecologists, modelers, ecophysiologists, phytopathologists and biogeochemists) that will use the latest generation of "omics" techniques (metabarcoding and metabolomics) to deepen the multifunctional role of the microbiota (Prokaryotes, archaeas and fungi) in the health of Holm-oaks and their resilience to the increasing incidence of, e.g. extreme summer droughts and/or pathogen attacks.