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Stable carbon isotopes in soils as indicators of environmental change

English title Stable carbon isotopes in soils as indicators of environmental change
Applicant Alewell Christine
Number 137569
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Umweltgeowissenschaften Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Pedology
Start/End 01.02.2012 - 31.03.2015
Approved amount 231'823.00
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Keywords (11)

soil degradation; wetland degradation; mires; fens; bogs; peats; soil erosion; land use; Alps; European transect; d13C

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Christine Alewell and Jens Leifeld
Lay summary
Soil degradation threatens human resources under current global change regime. As such, indicators for soil degradation are urgently needed to survey and monitor short term and long term impacts on soils. With this proposed study we aim to delineate indicators for soil erosion and carbon degradation during soil erosion in grassland and forest soils of the Alps qualitatively and quantitatively. The latter will be investigated at two test site in the Swiss Alps (Goms, Canton Valais and Val Piora, Canton Ticino) where data on 137Cs based erosion rates are already available. We further aim to develop a concept to use isotope depth profiles as well as ash contents as indicators for wetland disturbance (draining, nutrient input or climate change warming). In combining stable isotope profiles and ash content data we aim to quantify carbon degradation due to disturbance by draining or nutrient input. A gradient of wetlands ranging from the northern most Europe 200 km north of the polar cycle down to the Alps will be investigated to test our hypotheses.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 11.11.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Calculating carbon changes in peat soils drained for forestry with four different profile-based methods
Krüger J. P., Alewell C., Minkkinen K., Szidat S., Leifeld J (2016), Calculating carbon changes in peat soils drained for forestry with four different profile-based methods, in Forest Ecology and Management, 381, 29-36.
Biogeochemical indicators of peatland degradation – a case study of a temperate bog in northern Germany
Krüger Jan Paul, Leifeld Jens, Glatzel Stephan, Szidat Sönke, Alewell Christine (2015), Biogeochemical indicators of peatland degradation – a case study of a temperate bog in northern Germany, in Biogeosciences, 12, 2861-2871.
Soil carbon loss from managed peatlands along a land use gradient – a comparison of three different methods.
Krüger Jan Paul, Leifeld Jens, Glatzel Stephan, Alewell Christine (2015), Soil carbon loss from managed peatlands along a land use gradient – a comparison of three different methods., BGS Bulletin, Zollikofen.
Degradation changes stable carbon isotope depth profiles in palsa peatlands
Krüger Jan Paul, Leifeld Jens, Alewell Christine (2014), Degradation changes stable carbon isotope depth profiles in palsa peatlands, in Biogeosciences, 11, 3369-3380.
Stable isotopes as indicators of environmental change.
Krüger Jan Paul, , Alewell Christine, Stable isotopes as indicators of environmental change., in Aarhus University (ed.), DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, Denmark, 60-61.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Dr. Stephan Glatzel, University of Rostock Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Dr. Kevin Bishop, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. Pascal von Sengbusch, Consultant for Ecological wetland surveys and monitoring, Kandern Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Dr. Reiner Giessler, CIRC, Umea Universtiy Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. Kari Minkkinen, University of Helsinki Finland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Dr. Mats Nilsson, SLU Umeå Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
EGU General Assembly 2015 Talk given at a conference Uplifting of palsa peatlands by permafrost identified by stable isotope depth profiles 12.04.2015 Vienna, Austria Leifeld Jens; Alewell Christine; Krüger Jan Paul;
EGU General Assembly 2015 Poster C loss of managed peatlands along a land use gradient – a comparison of three different methods 12.04.2015 Vienna, Austria Krüger Jan Paul; Alewell Christine; Leifeld Jens;
Jahrestagung der BGS 2015 Poster C loss of managed peatlands along a land use gradient - a comparison of three different methods 05.02.2015 Basel, Switzerland Leifeld Jens; Krüger Jan Paul; Alewell Christine;
Wiedervernässung von Mooren - Chancen für den Klimaschutz Talk given at a conference Neue analytische Methoden als Indikatoren für die Degradierung von Mooren 22.05.2014 Feldberg, Germany Alewell Christine; Krüger Jan Paul;
EGU General Assembly 2014 Talk given at a conference Stable isotopes, radiocarbon signature and C loss as an indicator of soil degradation in a drained peatland, northern Germany 27.04.2014 Vienna, Austria Krüger Jan Paul; Alewell Christine; Leifeld Jens;
Bio-Geo-Colloquium der Universität Jena Individual talk Isotopes as tools to track down soil degradation 21.01.2014 Jena, Germany Alewell Christine;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2013 Poster Uplifting of hummocks in palsa peatlands in northern Sweden identified by stable carbon isotope profiles 15.11.2013 Lausanne, Switzerland Krüger Jan Paul; Leifeld Jens; Alewell Christine;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2013 Poster Soil respiration rates of degrading palsa peatlands in northern Sweden 15.11.2013 Lausanne, Switzerland Alewell Christine; Krüger Jan Paul;
Jahrestagung der Deutschen Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft 2013 Talk given at a conference Stabile Kohlenstoffisotope als Indikator für Moordrainage 07.09.2013 Rostock, Germany Krüger Jan Paul;
Vorlesung Umweltgeowissenschaften Individual talk Stable isotopes in soils as indicator of soil degradation, geomorphic or environmental change 29.04.2013 Wädenswil, Switzerland Alewell Christine;
Global Change Day 2013 Poster Palsa degradation changes stable carbon isotope depth profiles 16.04.2013 Bern, Switzerland Alewell Christine; Krüger Jan Paul; Leifeld Jens;
Jahrestagung der BGS 2013 Poster Stable Carbon Isotopes as Indicator of Peatland Drainage 07.02.2013 Zürich, Switzerland Krüger Jan Paul; Leifeld Jens; Alewell Christine;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Project website International 2014

Awards

Title Year
IGBP Poster Award at the Global Change Day 2013 in Bern 2013
Poster Award at the Swiss Soil Science Meeting 2013 in Zürich 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
113331 Soil degradation and nutrient export in the upper alpine level of the Reuss watershed 01.12.2006 Project funding (Div. I-III)
155889 Stable carbon isotopes in soils as indicators of environmental change 01.04.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Soil degradation threatens human resources under current global change regime. As such, indicators for soil degradation are urgently needed to survey and monitor short term and long term impacts on soils. With this proposed study we aim to delineate indicators for soil erosion and carbon degradation during soil erosion in grassland and forest soils of the Alps qualitatively and quantitatively. The latter will be investigated at two test site in the Swiss Alps (Goms, Canton Valais and Val Piora, Canton Ticino) where data on 137Cs based erosion rates are already available. We further aim to develop a concept to use isotope depth profiles as well as ash contents as indicators for wetland disturbance (draining, nutrient input or climate change warming). In combining stable isotope profiles and ash content data we aim to quantify carbon degradation due to disturbance by draining or nutrient input. A gradient of wetlands ranging from the northern most Europe 200 km north of the polar cycle down to the Alps will be investigated to test our hypotheses.
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