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Latest Projects

Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-09-01 - 2021-08-31

The overall project goal of the project Carbopart 2 is to lay the foundation for large scale reafforestation in Ethiopia. We will use the knowledge gained in Carbopart 1 to develop large scale reafforestation schemes using ecologically stable tree mixtures as opposed to non–ecologically stable monocultures. Further we will develop a program based on ecological forest monitoring, forest growth modelling and forest planning/management to establish sustainable harvesting routines based on species mixture thinning and regeneration options. The overall aim is to develop forest systems with multiple uses which in the short term produce a constant and sustainable income stream for farmers, and in the long term make a major contribution to Ethiopia climate targets. Within the financial constraints of the project we will establish demonstration sites across different climatic zones. The established forest sites will be used for educating farmers in sustainable forest management with the goal to (i) avoid erosion and thus loss of soil fertility, (ii) ensure continued supply of fuel wood and other timber and non-timber products, and thus (iii) generate income and (iv) to promote further planting programs within REDD+ program activities.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-03-01 - 2019-05-28

Due to their presumed drought tolerance and fast growth rates, the non-native tree species Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Grand fir (Abies grandis) have emerged as viable silvicultural alternatives to Norway spruce (Picea abies) in Austrian forests. However, the effect of these species on the forest soil carbon (C) cycle remains uncertain. If the contribution of these tree species to the forest composition increases in the near future, this information is urgently needed in order to lower the uncertainties of C sequestration estimates for the forestry sector. This project will, therefore, investigate soil C stocks and litter decomposition under Douglas fir and Grand fir in comparison to Norway spruce. Genecological field sites of the Department of Forest Genetics, Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW) will be utilized for a field study in 2018. Soil C stocks and litter decomposition will be determined for Norway spruce, Douglas fir and Grand fir plots in Lower and Upper Austria. Litter decomposition will be analyzed by means of a novel mass loss approach. The method will be developed in the project and allows for an in situ partitioning of litter mass loss into CO2 efflux, leaching of dissolved organic C and litter fragments. By means of the method litter decomposition will be linked to soil C stocks under the respective tree species. It is hypothesized that tree species with a higher partitioning into leaching of dissolved organic carbon have higher soil C stocks. This is one of the first studies investigating the effects of non-native tree species on soil C stocks in Austrian forests. Furthermore, it is the first in situ study partitioning mass loss during litter decomposition in forest ecosystems. The results will be an important information for forest managers which intend to use non-native tree species as an alternative to Norway spruce. The research will also give new insights into the complex process of litter break down and its role in the soil C cycle.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-03-01 - 2022-02-28

Ozone is a serious health problem in many cities during hot summer days. The ozone causes breathing problems as well as heart diseases and WHO has lately lowered the recommended limits exposure concentration. City trees can both increase and decrease the ozone levels depending on the environmental conditions. The increase of ozone is caused by the release of volatile organic compounds (VOC) which in the presents of NOx produce ozone. On the other hand leaves can decrease ozone levels trough deposition processes. The trees influence on both production of ozone and absorption depends on species but also on the physiological status of the tree such as drought or salt stress. By measuring the VOC production as well as the ozone absorption of species commonly used as street trees we can identify species that at high temperatures has a large capacity to decrease ozone concentrations. Further we can test how the influence on the ozone concentration is affected by drought and salt stress and how the response differs between species. The results will be used to model the ozone concentrations in Vienna The findings and the improved model can in the future be used as decision tools when planning the urban landscape to minimize ozone peaks.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations