NWO - Soil heterogeneity as a key to restoring nature and biodiversity on former arable fields

  • Bezemer, T. Martijn (Supervisor)
  • Wubs, Jasper (Collaborator)

Project Details


Soil biotic and abiotic conditions vary greatly over space, and insight into the role soil heterogeneity plays in creating and maintaining plant diversity can be key to successful restoration of biodiversity. We aim to study how soil heterogeneity affects plant diversity and ecosystem functioning, and we will examine how soil heterogeneity can be managed via soil transplantation approaches to improve biodiversity conservation and nature restoration. We will study the effectiveness of soil transplantation for restoration and improved aboveground and belowground diversity at a restoration area of 180 hectares where soil from a restored species-rich grassland, and sods collected from a heathland have been deposited over large areas. We will also study how the spatial variability of soil biota and resources change during the process of restoration on former arable fields, in a series of restoration sites that differ in years they have been under restoration. Spatial explicit sampling designs will be used in the project and local and spatial aboveground and belowground diversity will be determined. Molecular techniques (TRFLP) will be employed to study soil microbial community heterogeneity. In greenhouse studies, ecosystem functions of soils will be studied. Recommendations will be made about optimal strategies for soil transplantation and management of soil heterogeneity in nature restoration projects. Particular emphasis will be placed on improvement of restoration success of on-going restoration projects. The results of this project will guide restoration management and provide essential information on how to make optimal use of soils in nature and biodiversity restoration.
Effective start/end date15/03/201214/11/2016


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