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Finalized Projects

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Photo: Kristof Van Oost


Tropical forests play an important role in the global carbon balance, assimilating over a third of the global terrestrial gross primary production. They represent a significant CO2 sink and maintaining this function requires a large and sustained supply of nitrogen (N). This implies that an understanding of how N losses from tropical soils constrain plant growth and carbon (C) sequestration is critical to assess current and future productivity of tropical forest ecosystems. Despite its importance, a quantified understanding of the different N loss pathways is lacking. Read more


Photo: Isaac Makelele

Development of a platform for long-term integrated forest ecosystem monitoring in DR Congo, funded by VLIR-UOS

Within this project we want to continue and further specify our research, education and outreach efforts on long-term biogeochemical monitoring of Congo Basin forest. We hypothesise that future stability of Congolese forests will largely depend on how these forests will respond to possible changes in nutrient and hydrological cycles. Improved understanding of nutrient and water availability greatly improves carbon cycle modelling, which allows a much better estimation of current and future C sequestration, which still is a key ecosystem service of tropical forests. Read more

Photo: Florian Wilken


Tropical soil organic carbon dynamics along erosional disturbance gradients in relation to variability in soil geochemistry and land use

Tropical Africa is a hotspot of both climate and land use change. The region faces growing population, deforestation of primary forests and degradation of soils due to erosion. Hence, tropical Africa is expected to experience important changes to both soil biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem level nutrient and greenhouse gas fluxes between soil, plants and the atmosphere in this century. Two goals, often contradictory, have to be matched: Storing C in soils to combat climate change and increasing plant yields and soil productivity under subsistence farming and with limited availability of industrial fertilizers for food production. Read more

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