Exploring the role of deadwood in the forest soil carbon cycle.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Geography and Environmental Sciences


This will be the first study of its kind the forest carbon (C) cycle across different UK woodland types; and how to quantify the role of deadwood in environmental and management factors control the rate of deadwood supply, storage and loss. Forest Research need data on the deadwood C cycle to provide evidence to show others how to best manage forests to combat climate change, as forests remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it biomass, deadwood and soil. Deadwood provides food for decomposer organisms, who fix some C in their biomass, and release some CO2 back to the atmosphere and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to water flowing in to soils when it rains. This project will provide essential information about how much C is stored within deadwood in UK forests, and how much is lost to the atmosphere as CO2 or transferred as DOC to the soil C store. It will evaluate how the balance between C storage and loss from deadwood varies across the UK due to different environmental conditions, like tree type, soil type, climate and atmospheric pollution. Process knowledge gained will be used to develop a deadwood module for a forest carbon model. This model will be used to further explore how the deadwood C cycle works and how this could change as management and environmental conditions change. Research from this project will help Forest Research explain to forest managers how they can best manage deadwood to combat climate change


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/N008529/1 30/09/2016 22/02/2022
1801115 Studentship NE/N008529/1 30/09/2016 22/02/2022 Victoria Shannon
Description Soil analysis for Earthwatch 
Organisation Earthwatch Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I processed and analysed soils that were collected during fieldwork as part of the Earthwatch project. I also set up datasheets to record results and carry out basic calculations on soil properties. I trained other scientists/new students to carry out the same analysis.
Collaborator Contribution They set up and carried out field analysis and collected soil samples. Statistical analysis of results and subsequent papers were written by the other partners.
Impact Paper published entitled: Measuring Soil Colour to Estimate Soil Organic Carbon Using a Large-Scale Citizen Science-Based Approach (https://doi.org/10.3390/su131911029)
Start Year 2018
Description Attended BSSS Early Career's Researcher conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Attended a conference for early career's researchers run by the British Society of Soil Science and presented my proposed research. Whilst there, I attended a workshop on publishing in soil science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.soils.org.uk/event/1051
Description Attended Biogeomon conference: International Symposium on Ecosystem Behavior 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Attended the Biogeomon conference in the Czech Republic to present a poster of preliminary results from my research. Met with other teams conducting research into similar fields and discussed findings and plans for future studies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description Creation of a blog related to research 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A blog has been created to communicate our research to the general public. It will be updated at regular intervals with short, informal posts and there is scope for questions to be posted to it by the public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020