Major research and PhD projects – University of Copenhagen

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Research and PhD projects

Nørholm Hede - Succession on abandoned heath for more than 100 years.

Nørholm Heath was abandoned and left for free succession in 1896. We study tree colonization, stability of heathlands, grazing, drivers of change etc.
Contact: Inger Kappel Schmidt

INCREASE – An Integrated Network on Climate Change REsearch Activities on Shrubland Ecosystems.

INCREASE is an EU-funded network of large-scale field experiments for studies of climate effects on vulnerable shrubland ecosystems in Europe coordinated by the group. Facilities and partners in Hungary, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, UK and Denmark. In Denmark we have two large scale climate experiments with manipulations of temperature, precipitation and atmospheric CO2.
Contact: Inger Kappel Schmidt

CLIMAITE – VKR-Climate Centre of Excellence

Climate change effects on biological processes in terrestrial ecosystems. In a large scale field experiment we conduct climatic manipulations with CO2, temperature and water and study the effects on the ecosystems organisms, structure and functioning. Other partners are DTU, KU-BIO and AU.
Contact: Inger Kappel Schmidt

Grazers and browsers in nature conservation

We study the effect of fallow deer and red deer on vegetation composition and structure in open habitats and woodlands and their carrying capacity.
Contact: Rita Merete Buttenschøn

Mols Bjerge

Long-term effects of husbandry grazing on vegetation and soil in a hilly landscape with a mosaic of heathland, permanent grassland and woodlands.
Contact: Rita Merete Buttenschøn

PhD projects

Ecological restoration of the upper river Øle Å, Bornholm, Denmark

Jonas Morsing,

My research project focuses on documenting the effect of ecological restoration. I specifically look at methods for restoring the upper forested part of the stream Øle Å on Bornholm, where Norway spruce (Picea abies) for a period has been cultivated intensively in the riparian zone. Consequently the natural vegetation has been shaded out, and the stream fauna has reduced food sources.
Read more on the webpage

Climate change impacts on heathland plant species and heathland ecosystem stability

Johannes Ransijn,

My main interest is how climatic change will affect heathland ecosystem stability and whether it might push systems to different stability domains, i.e. causing catastrophic shifts in species abundance patterns. I investigate the responses of the two most abundant heathland plant species, common heather (Calluna vulgaris) and wavy hair grass (Deschampsia flexuosa), to artificial climatic change with physiological and phenological measurements, biomass inventories and competition modelling as part of the CLIMAITE and INCREASE projects. I also work with long term vegetation monitoring data from Nørholm Hede to assess patterns of vegetation change and ecosystem stability in heathlands.

Assessing Forest Resources and Carbon Sequestration using Airborne Scanning Laser and Infrared Photogrammetry

Johannes Schumacher,

The objective of my study is to derive information about forests (e.g. forest area, biomass, stem volume, tree types and their allocation and also ecological variables) from remote sensing data. I use terrestrial reference data and remote sensed data to build models which can be applied to areas where field data may not be available. I use field data from the NFI and from tree species experiments and wall-to-wall LiDAR data and colour infrared images.

Forest Dynamics in relation to ecological processes and biodiversity

Sebastian Kepfer Rojas,

I focus on the interplay of forest attributes (changes in structure, composition, extension, etc), ecological processes and biodiversity at different spatial scales. One of the main objectives in my research is to determine the underlying ecological causes of forest development and the pivotal role of forests as regulators of ecological processes. An important step in understanding forest ecosystems is to investigate how forests develop through time. For doing so I use long term successional studies (Nørholm Heatland) to investigate patterns of community assembly and structural development during spontaneous succession. Further, I investigate the role of forests characteristics in determining associated biodiversity patterns (e.g. birds, ground vegetation) at a landscape level, based on national level monitoring programs (National Forest Inventory, Common Bird Census (DOF))