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Forest Soils and Biogeochemistry


The Research Unit investigates how properties and functions of forest soils (e.g. nutrient availability) and biogeochemical processes (e.g. C mineralisation) depend on external factors such as contaminant input, climatic change and forest management. On the micro scale, the Research Unit develops experimental and analytical tools to study pathways and processes in the rhizosphere.

Research Group “Soil Functions and Soil Protection“

The research group focuses on the functions and related ecosystem services of forest soils. On one hand, the group studies the mechanisms, that are the basis for soil functionality, on the other hand it assesses the impact of external pressure and contamination on soil functions and fertility.

Research Group “Biogeochemistry“

How does environmental change affect carbon and nutrient fluxes in ecosystems? The research group Biogeochemistry (1) studies long-term changes of biogeochemical cycles in Swiss forests (LWF); (2) manipulates climatic conditions (temperature, CO2 concentrations, N deposition) in field and lab experiments; and (3) traces carbon and nitrogen fluxes using stable isotopes.

Research Group “Rhizosphere Processes“

The group studies the complex interactions between soil, microbes and roots under natural systems and investigates the impacts of environmental change on these interactions. The group applies biochemical, molecular and stable isotope methods in their studies. The two areas of research concern 1) soil bacterial and fungal communities as drivers for biogeochemical processes and 2) soil microbial communities and roots as indicators of environmental stress.

Our research focuses on: