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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

You are here: NRS Home / Research Programs / Climate, Fire, and Carbon Cycle Sciences / Research Focus / Soil Processes and Environmental Change
Climate, Fire, and Carbon Cycle Science

Soil Processes and Environmental Change

[Photo:] Symbiotic mycorrhizal fungus on pine roots helps trees get nutrients from the soil.Soils sustain ecosystem health and productivity by providing nutrients and water to plants, storing the majority of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems, filtering pollutants from water, and providing habitat for a diverse assemblage of soil organisms. We study how the capacity of soils to perform these functions is sensitive to climate change, air pollution, forest management, human and natural disturbances, and invasive species.

Research involves (1) understanding the controls and environmental responses of biomass allocation to above and belowground parts of trees; (2) understanding the community structure, functions and interactions of forest soil organisms, and their impact on ecosystems; (3) understanding the belowground process controlling carbon and nutrient cycles; (4) understanding the distribution of soil carbon, and its response to disturbance and climate change.  We have two unique research facilities for studying soil processes: a Rhizotron for studies in intact forests, and a Mesocosm facility for research on replicated small-scale ecosystems.  We have a significant role in the National Soil Carbon Network, a national initiative to improve the integration of soil carbon research and data.


Selected Research

Last Modified: 04/22/2009