Forest Ecosystem Research Group
Overview of our current research interests
|The Forest Ecosystem Research Group aims
to increase our understanding of ways in which we can manage the environmental resources
of soil, air and water to achieve a sustainable supply of the economic, social and
environmental values of forested ecosystems.
Our main method is long-term biogeochemical monitoring. This approach, combined with relevant biological monitoring, allows us to get a high-level overview of the development of ecosystems over long timescales. We measure absolute inputs to the systems from atmospheric deposition, and we can model the inputs from weathering of primary soil minerals. Within ecosystems, the turnover and internal cycling of elements (often an order of magnitude larger than either inputs or outputs for mature forests), are monitored closely. Outputs from ecosystems can be seen as a drain on the resources available for growth and harvesting, as a necessary disposal of unwanted byproducts, or as an emission of potentially beneficial or harmful substances to receiving ecosystems.
The sustained yield of human value from forest ecosystems can only be achieved when these inputs, cycles and outputs achieve a suitable equilibrium. A constant supply of nutrients is needed, wastes must be removed, and the impacts on receptor ecosystems must be tolerable. Understanding the processes involved, the magnitude of the various contributing parts, and the effects of intervention by management or pollution are needed if sustainable management is to be achieved. Providing a basis for this understanding is the key work of the Forest Ecosystem Research Group.
Last update: July 2008
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