Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Silva Nova – Restoring soil biology and soil functions to gain multiple benefits in new forests

We will study how inoculation of former arable land with soil (including the microbiome, soil fauna and seeds/rhizomes of ground flora) from old forests along with planting targeted tree species mixtures will improve productivity and more rapidly restore forest-adapted communities and ulttimately result in diverse, stable and resilient multifunctional forests.

2021 - 2027
Martijn Bezemer
Novo Nordisk Fonden Novo Nordisk Fonden
  • Prof Per Gundersen Univ. of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark
  • Prof Inger Kappel Schmidt Univ. of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark
  • Prof Lars Vesterdal Univ. of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark
  • Prof Sebastian Kepfer Rojas Univ. of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark
  • Prof Leho Tedersoo, University of Tartu, Estonia


The objectives of the project are to:

1-evaluate temporal and spatial responses in biomass production, flora and fauna, soil microbiota and soil functions to afforestation of former cropland in the baseline situation without assisted dispersal;

2-quantify effects of inoculation methods regarding donor, amount and application mode of inoculum to different soil types and tree species using mesocosm approaches;

3-expand knowledge of inoculation methods from mesocosm to field-scale implementation;

4-develop concepts for assessment and planning of afforestation at the landscape scale and provide a decision tool for afforestation strategies including use of assisted dispersal.

For more information, see https://www.above-belowgroundinteractions.com/silva-nova.

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