Masterprojektemner / Master projects – Københavns Universitet

Videresend til en ven Resize Print Bookmark and Share

IGN > Forskning > Skov, natur & biomasse > Masterprojektemner / M...

Masterprojektemner / Master projects

Below are ideas to projects and a selection of finalised theses from 2015-2016. You can go for one of these projects or use the list for inspiration to develop your own project!

2017

The list is ordered alphabetically according to project title

Afforestation and deforestation, where and how?

Afforestation and deforestation in Denmark - where and how? Based on satellite & lidar mapping and field data from National Forest Inventory (NFI). Focus on either habitats or on a location in the landscape.
Contact Vivian Kvist Johannsen vkj@ign.ku.dk

Are forest reserves saturated with nitrogen leading to nitrate leaching and soil acidification?

We have observed high nitrate leaching in a few forest reserves in Denmark. Is this a general phenomenon in regions with moderate to high nitrogen (N) deposition? In forest reserves with no harvest of biomass, there is no mechanism to remove N, thus excess N may either accumulate in the soil or leach to the groundwater. This project can combine a data compilation from the literature with field work. We will visit  pairs of managed and un-managed forests for soil and soil water sampling. This will contribute to a major research project on effects of N deposition.
Contact Per Gundersen pgu@ign.ku.dk

Are invasive plant establishment enhanced by soil nutrient enrichment?

We are facing major threats to local indigenous biodiversity from a long list of invasive plants. My hypothesis is that invasion is enhanced by nutrient enrichment especially input of mineral nitrogen. I suggest analysing the soil nutrient capital and N leaching at paired plots with and with-out selected invasive species (e.g. Giant hogweed (bjørneklo), Prunus serotina (glansbladet hæg)). Practical work (indentifying sites, soil sampling, and soil analysis) can be combined with an extensive literature review. It is possible to scale this project to different sizes and one or two participants. This will contribute to a major research project on effects of N deposition.
Contact Per Gundersen pgu@ign.ku.dk

Ash Dieback I: structures of bacterial/fungal root microbiomes of selected Fraxinus species

Some species of Fraxinus are explicitly less susceptible to ash dieback caused by the pathogen H. fraxinues than other species. Since root microbiomes are known to contribute disease resistance in many plants, this project aims to investigate bacterial/fungal communities in rhizospheres of the Fraxinus species using state-of-the-art next generation sequencing.
Contact Lene Rostgaard Nielsen lron@ign.ku.dk

Ash Dieback II: mating type and breeding of pathogenic and non-pathogenic H. fraxineus strains

Our latest results showed variation in pathogenicity of Danish H. fraxineus strains, ranging from very aggressive to non-pathogenic when inoculated onto seedlings of Common ash. This project will identify the mating types of virulent and non-virulent strains of H. fraxineus and conduct crossing experiments of the different types in the lab.
Contact Lene Rostgaard Nielsen lron@ign.ku.dk

Belowground carbon input from roots in relation to tree species

A large part of forest carbon is sequestered belowground. Very little knowledge is available on belowground litter input from roots. Based on a unique tree species experiment where the same ensemble of tree species is planted on 6 different locations in Denmark, we seek a student to investigate fine root production and relate this to available knowledge on soil carbon stocks. The project will include installation of root in-growth bags, sequential soil sampling at field sites and laboratory incubation of roots.
Contact Marie Frost Arndal, mfa@ign.ku.dk; Inger Kappel Schmidt iks@ign.ku.dk

Biological diversity in managed and unmanaged forests 

Contact Inger Kappel Schmidt iks@ign.ku.dk

Biological effects of aquaeous extracts from barks

Rain water washes down along tree branches and trunks (stemflow), and in the process extracts ions and  organic compounds from the bark. The aim of this project is to find out, whether aquaeous extracts affect the growth of lichens; i.e., whether bark chemistry is responsible for differences among Danish tree species in epiphytic lichen biodiversity, that we have recorded. The study will use pure cultures of the lichen fungi, and exploit sterile cultivation on extract amended agar as a model for quantifying mycelial growth.
Contact Hanne Nina Rasmussen hnr@ign.ku.dk.

Biomass investment in standing bark in Danish trees

Bark is a largely overlooked by-product of wood production and has received little interest from research. The investment made by the tree into its bark (as reflected in bark biomass) is rarely considered, and its impact on overall wood productively is largely unknown. Different strategies appear to be employed by temperate tree species in respect to amount and anatomy of bark, suggesting different functioning in the living tree. The aim of this project is to calculate and model the standing mass and volume of bark from tree base to stem top, absolute and in relation to wood, based on existing data sets from Common Garden Experiments. The expected results will show differences relating to species, growing site and tree growth rate.
Contact Thomas Nord-Larsen tnl@ign.ku.dk

Canopy interception – investigating interactive effects of tree species and climate

Canopy interception is an important evaporative loss that shape the water balance and groundwater formation below forests. Modeling canopy interception processes are central to assess the impact of land use change on the water resource, but model parameterization often relies on literature values. Furthermore, tree species and climate interact in ways to shape the canopy water balance that is currently not well understood and hence not accounted for in models. We seek a student to model canopy interception processes in different tree species in all climatic zones of Denmark to develop and improve existing parameterization of canopy interception models. The project will utilize the existing long term dataset of forest hydrology for intensive Danish forest monitoring plots.
Contact Jesper Riis Christiansen jrc@ign.ku.dk

Carbon debt and cumulative radiative forcing of bioenergy

The project addresses the carbon dynamics of bioenergy systems and the impact on global warming. The student can work with meta-analysis based on literature review of carbon debt and cumulative radiative forcing to identify factors that influence carbon debt and climate impacts from forest bioenergy. Scenario analysis and modelling the carbon debt and cumulative radiative forcing of specific bioenergy cases can also form the project.
Contact Niclas Scott Bentsen nb@ign.ku.dk

Cattle grazing in beech forest

Affiliated to an ongoing study of long-term effects of woodland grazing; a) browse at beech in relation to stem density, b) the role of cattle dung pads as sites for germination of tree seedlings and herbs.
Contact Rita M. Buttenschøn rmb@ign.ku.dk

Characterisation of tree species for energy production

Currently bioenergy is mainly based of residual resources as harvest residues, processing waste and wood from early thinnings of forest stands. The increasing demand for bioenergy may, however, require that biomass is grown specifically for energy purposes. Willow (Salix sp.) and poplar (Populus sp.) are already grown for energy purposes in Denmark but other tree species could be relevant to consider. The project develops a multidimensional characterisation of tree species’ suitability as energy crops considering e.g. growth potential, nutrient efficiency, water use efficiency, flexibility, habitat quality, visual impact, rotation length, and adaptability. A comparison with non-woody energy crops should be included. The project builds on data from tree species trials, the national forest inventory and literature.
Contact Scott Bentsen nb@ign.ku.dk

Chlorophyll in bark

When light penetrates tree bark, chlorophyll-containing cells photosynthesize, by re-assimilation of respiratory CO2. Bark photosynthesis is thought not only to produce local carbohydrates, but also to ameliorate the low oxygen and high CO2 levels inherent in compact plant tissues. It is not known, how trees differ with respect to amount and importance of this assimilation, the barks differing greatly in structure from top to tree base as well as among tree species. In this project it is suggested to analyse for chlorophyll contents and composition in fresh barks and measure light penetrability in excised bark.
Contact Hanne Nina Rasmussen hnr@ign.ku.dk

Climate change impact on shrubland ecosystems

Climate change is hypothesized to impact the early phases in species life cycles the most. However, most experiments are done on mature ecosystems. We seek students to study regeneration and growth of plants or insects in large scale climate change experiments.
Contact Inger Kappel Schmidt  iks@ign.ku.dk

Control of Wood small – reed (Calamagrostis epigejos)

The grass is invading dry sand grasslands and other open habitats outcompeting the more light-demanding and divers vegetation.
Contact Rita M. Buttenschøn  rmb@ign.ku.dk

Current season needle necrosis

– a costly disorder of unknown origin in Abies Christmas trees . Yearly, an economic loss is realized in Danish Christmas tree production due to reddening of current season needles occurring in mid-summer and followed by needle loss. Trees are either down-graded or unsaleable causing severe economic losses – estimated up to 50 mio. kr. a year. The disorder is related to warm climate and climatic factors, and several hypotheses have been suggested including genetics, fungus and nutrition. The project goal is to summarize existing knowledge based on literature of trees and other species, and can also be supplemented with field data from own observations/field work or data in file.
Contact Ulrik Braüner Nielsen ubn@ign.ku.dk, Iben Margrete Thomsen imt@ign.ku.dk

Dalbergia trees in Indochina

Indochina, the mainland part of Southeast Asia, is recognized as part of one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots with a high overall biodiversity and very high levels of endemism for both plant and animal species. The region has a complex geological and biographical history, with frequent and large historical changes in sea level and land areas, as well as in vegetation types and distribution.  This project will use phylogeography, the study of the geographic distribution of genetic lineages within species, to study how these historical events has affected the demography and distribution of two endemic timber tree species in the area, Dalbergia cochinchinensis and Dalbergia oliveri. Several hypotheses can be evaluated, e.g. what is the origin of the two species? Is there evidence of restriction to refugial forest areas in mountainous areas during earlier glacial periods? What is the effect of the Mekong River, which transects the region, on distribution and diversification of the species? The specific contents of the project can be subject to change depending on interests.
Contact Ida Hartvig  ihla@ign.ku.dk

Dead wood

Is an important habitat for biodiversity as host for many species. We have good knowledge on amount of dead wood from a number of managed and unmanaged forests but are all types of dead wood suitable habitats for fungi or insects? The project aims on studying the effect of tree species, the position of the dead wood as e.g. sun exposed, soaked in water or attached to live trees for biodiversity in forests.
Contact Inger Kappel Schmidt iks@ign.ku.dk

Development of structures and understory vegetation in un-managed/selectively harvested stands after 60 years

Development of structures and flora in a largely untouched stand over 60 years (the stand is previously driven as selective felling, but mostly untouched for 30 years).
Contact Vivian Kvist Johannsen vkj@ign.ku.dk

Do we have the right provenances of beech for the future climate?

Growth ring analyses are useful to study the climate response of species and provenance to climate. The ring analyses can be supplemented with analysis of wood anatomical characteristics as vessel density and sizes to test the variation with climate and among provenances. Based on ring analysis, this project idea aims at testing the growth response of beech and beech provenances to climate variations, and to test if responses among provenances are explained by the originate climate of the provenances and their phenology.  Alternatively, it is possible to test to what degree vessel density and size is varying with climate and among provenances.
Contact Jon Kehlet Hansen jkh@ign.ku.dk

Economy of the self-driving car and different power train technologies

The coming years will most likely see a shift from the traditional internal combustion engine towards a mix of different power train technologies, e.g. biofuels ICE, electric, hydrogen fuel cell. In addition there is a rapid development in AI technologies that will soon make a fully self-driving car possible. All of these technological changes will change how cars are owned and operated. This project can investigate these novel technologies and model how it influences the economy of car ownership under a number of relevant assumptions. The project is conducted in collaboration with the Danish Energy Association.
Contact Niclas Scott Bentsen nb@ign.ku.dk

Effect of native (Betula sp.) vs a non-native (Pinus mugo) on long term succession

Use the long term data series in Nørholm Heath to investigate the particular trajectories of these two species, and/or complement it with data collected at a dominance gradient for both species. Looking at effects on soil, topography  and understory vegetation.
Contact Sebastian K. Rojas skro@ign.ku.dk, Inger K. Schmidt iks@ign.ku.dk

Effects of long-term climate change on net ecosystem carbon balance

The CLIMAITE climate change experiment have studied the effects of elevated CO2, warming and summer drought on a Danish heathland ecosystem in Jægerspris for 8 years with experimental treatments and is one of the biggest climate change experiments in the world. Terrestrial ecosystems exchange 15 times more carbon with the atmosphere each year than anthropogenic emissions and a key question in climate research is whether terrestrial ecosystems will mitigate or accelerate climate change through changes in flux rates of photosynthesis and/or respiration. In this project various aspects of ecosystem carbon exchange related to future climate change can be investigated using state-of-the-art measurement techniques and potentially modelling.
Contact Klaus Steenberg Larsen ksl@ign.ku.dk

Forest and grassland hydrology: Modeling the water cycle in a soil warming experiment in Iceland

Following an earthquake in southern Iceland geothermal patterns changed and lead to ‘soil warming’ below a small spruce forest and a grassland. This has been used to set up experimental gradients of soil warming where biologist are looking at the major questions in climate change(http://landbunadur.rala.is/landbunadur/wgrala.nsf/key2/hhjn8s6gwu.html). However, no one is working on the hydrology. There are local climate data, some soil physics and time series of surface soil moisture which are suitable for calibration of soil-water-atmosphere (SWAT) models. We have obtained soil water chemistry data which after setting up the model can be used to calculate leaching fluxes. Here you will learn about the difference in water use of forests vs low vegetation. You will be able connect your work to major questions related to climate change The objectives would be i) to calibrate a SWAT-model to forest and grassland on the same site; ii) to use the calibrated model to look at the effect of warming and to provide percolation estimates; iii) to calculate element fluxes including using Cl as inert tracer to roughly validate the percolation results.
Contact Per Gundersen pgu@ign.ku.dk, Jesper Riis Christiansen jrc@ign.ku.dk

Forest as a measure of climate change adaptation

Evapotranspiration from forests has been shown to be higher than for farm land. Afforestation therefore has the potential to decrease extreme runoff events. In addition, the drainage efficiency of the soils below forest is expected to be lower than for agricultural land where artificial drainage systems are often installed. Hence, the impact of afforestation on stream discharge may be higher than predicted based on differences in evapotranspiration only. Forest areas may therefore have the potential for climate change adaptation: e.g. they act as buffers to reduce extreme runoff events and slowly release water during drier periods. However, long term impacts on water balance and groundwater formation and hence climate adaptation potential are not clear as it is expected that soil drainage capacity will change over time as a consequence of forest stand development. This project will focus mostly on processing existing data, but field work can be included to describe dynamic processes of the forest water balance.
Contact Jesper Riis Christiansen jrc@ign.ku.dk

Forest soil nitrogen enrichment and floristic changes in nitrogen deposition gradients

Nitrogen (N) deposition exceeds critical loads for N in many forests in Denmark, but it is not known to what extent this leads to soil N enrichment and to changes in ground flora composition. We will use regional and local N deposition gradients to study changes in soil chemical indicators and plant community composition with increasing N deposition. This will contribute to a major research project on effects of N deposition.
Contact Per Gundersen pgu@ign.ku.dk

Genetic variation in resistance against powdery mildew in Quercus.

Powdery mildew (Erysiphe alphitoides sensu lato) originates from Asia, but is now widespread in Europe. The fungus is mainly infecting young leaves and especially leaves of lamma (second) shoots of oak are infected. The infections reduce growth and make infected shoots susceptible to frost in the autumn. This project is aiming at quantifying the genetic variation in mildew susceptibility at lamma shoots and in lamma shoots formation and quantifying the importance of mildew susceptibility for growth, external stem quality and survival in Quercus petraea or Quercus robur.
Contact Jon Kehlet Hansen  jkh@ign.ku.dk

Genetic variation in spiral grain in Sitka spruce and Norway spruce

Spiral grain is the main cause for twist in timber of Sitka spruce and Norway spruce. A genetic variation in spiral grain in the inner rings of Sitka spruce and Norway spruce has been shown in previous studies and without a genetic correlation with growth. This project can investigated if genetic variation is still present in older rings and how it is related to growth. In Norway spruce, it will be possible to use the results as input for selective thinnings in a seed orchard.
Contact Jon Kehlet Hansen jkh@ign.ku.dk

Genetic variation in tolerance to late winter frost in Coastal douglas-fir

A major drawback for the cultivation of Coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) is the sensitivity to frost, and especially the phenomenon that may occur in late winter/early spring with frozen soils, frost in the night and clear sky in the day.  This study is aiming at testing the hypothesis that this phenomenon is due to photo inhibition.
Contact Jon Kehlet Hansen jkh@ign.ku.dk

Hardy cattle and horses in restoration of woodlands for biodiversity

There is a growing interest for the use of year round grazing with “wild horses” in combination with cattle to restore more natural and biodiverse woodlands, but documentation of the effects of year round grazing on vegetation composition and structure, seed dispersal and forest regeneration etc. is very limited.
Contact Rita M. Buttenschøn rmb@ign.ku.dk

Has the ground flora in forests changed due to nitrogen deposition?

Nitrogen (N) deposition exceeds critical loads for N in major parts of Denmark, but it is not known if the ground flora composition in forests has changed due to N enrichment. We will resample sites with historic (prior to elevated N) information on plants and soils to answer this question. This will contribute to a major research project on effects of N deposition.
Contact Per Gundersen pgu@ign.ku.dk

Have nitrification characteristics of forest soils changed due to increased nitrogen deposition?

Nitrification is the gateway to leaching losses of nitrogen in the form of nitrate. Forest soils are often slow or non-nitrifying soils, but are they attaining the nitrifying ability as N-deposition have increased over the last 50 years. A scientist reported on the nitrifying ability in forest soils almost 100 years ago. We will try to relocate his study sites and repeat his measurements plus other modern ways to quantify the nitrifying ability. Regional and local N-deposition gradients can be included in the study as well.
Contact Per Gundersen pgu@ign.ku.dk

Health of Norway spruce in a future climate

The health in Norway spruce stands was generally poor in the end of the 1980ies and beginning of the 1990ies, but with genetic differences in health at provenance- and individual-tree level.  A single factor triggering the decline in health was never found.
The study is aiming to test if genetic differences in health observed in the 1990ies are reflected in genetic differences in the response to climate. Alternatively, it could be investigated if the genetic differences in health are reflecting differences in wood anatomy. For the study, ii will be possible to sample wood cores among genotypes of Norway spruce that showed different degrees of health decline in the 1990ies. 
Contact Jon Kehlet Hansen jkh@ign.ku.dk

Hot spots and hot moments of greenhouse gas dynamics in urban landscapes - Will future, greener climate adaptation in cities increase greenhouse gas emission from urban areas?

Climate adaption focuses on concentrating runoff water in receiving buffer areas where wet soils will develop and where greenhouse gas production potentially can be induced. This aspect of future climate adaptation has not been considered. We seek a student to investigate the potential greenhouse gas production and consumption in a laboratory incubation study for currently used climate adaption solutions that encompass different environmental (substrate material and vegetation) and hydrological conditions. This project will include field work and subsequent laboratory work.
Contact Jesper Riis Christiansen jrc@ign.ku.dk

How can Denmark achieve its climate obligations?

Denmark has a number of targets regarding CO2-emission mitigation and renewable energy generation in the future. There are many pathways to achieve goals: You can decrease consumption of energy, subsidize renewable energy generation, import hydropower from Norway etc. This project will investigate how this can be achieved by analysing different scenarios for future energy generation and consumption. A simple, numerical optimization model can be performed to figure out how to do this cheaply, quickly or with another goal in mind. The project is conducted in collaboration with the Danish Energy Association.
Contact Niclas Scott Bentsen nb@ign.ku.dk

Indirect land use change of (Danish) biofuel targets

Danish energy and climate targets include the use of liquid biofuels for the transport sector. In the short term to 2030 these are expected to be, at least partially, based on food crops or on other crops grown on agricultural land. Using food crops or agricultural land to produce energy has direct impacts on land use but also indirect effects (indirect land use change, iLUC) can be expected when production and use of crops and land is changed. iLUC has been shown to have a significant impact on the climate profile of biofuels, but challenges prevail in reproducing, interpreting and applying such results. The project includes a literature study on direct and indirect land use change of liquid biofuels and a case study on Danish or other countries’ targets on biofuels with a characterisation and quantification of direct and indirect land use change and associated climate impacts.
Contact Niclas Scott Bentsen nb@ign.ku.dk

Invasion and community ecology related to the invasive harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) I

Pathogen spillback - a potential mechanism contributing to the success of the invasive harlequin ladybird? Keywords: parasite-spillback hypothesis, invasive species, entomopathogenic fungi, native insect communities, apparent competition, field/experimental lab work.
Contact Andrew Gordon Howe andy@ign.ku.dk

Invasion and community ecology related to the invasive harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) II

Predator-predator interactions between the invasive harlequin ladybird (H. axyridis) and the native flower bug (Anthocoris nemoralis). Keywords: predator avoidance, insect behaviour, native/invasive insects interactions, co-existence, chemical cues, experimental lab work.
Contact Andrew Gordon Howe andy@ign.ku.dk

Is deer grazing affecting nutrient cycling in forests?

There are clear visible differences in height, coverage and composition of ground vegetation inside and outside a fenced area in a forest. This is an effect of deer grassing. However, there is not much information if grazing has an effect on carbon and nutrient cycling. Soil and plant chemical indicators will be measured inside and outside enclosure that has been maintained over many years. This will contribute to a major research project on effects of N deposition.
Contact Per Gundersen pgu@ign.ku.dk

Is there more soil organic carbon in an undisturbed forest?

Currently, we lack baseline data for how much carbon there can be stored in undisturbed forest soils. This is important in terms of establishing a long term assessment of how forest soils can mitigate climate change by storing atmospheric CO2 in soil organic carbon. We recently, received new data on the soil organic carbon pool for one of Denmark’s only truly undisturbed forests, Suserup Skov. In this project it will be possible to investigate the spatial distribution of the soil organic carbon pool and compare these findings to similar measurements for other East Danish forests within the National Forest Monitoring program.
Contact Lars Vesterdal lv@ign.ku.dk

Mating type and breeding of pathogenic and non-pathogenic H. fraxineus strains

(the fungus responsible for the ash dieback of European ash)
Our latest results showed variation in pathogenicity of Danish H. fraxineus strains, ranging from very aggressive to non-pathogenic when inoculated onto seedlings of Common ash. This project will identify the mating types of virulent and non-virulent strains of H. fraxineus and conduct crossing experiments of the different types in the lab.
Contact Lene Rostgaard Nielsen lron@ign.ku.dk

Management of semi-natural ecosystems and trade-off between ecosystem service

Biomass harvest is a common management tool for removal of nutrients and maintaining semi-natural ecosystems open. Presently, many semi-natural ecosystems are managed with a focus on biomass harvest for energy and less focus on the consequences for plants and animal diversity, soil carbon and soil water quality. We seak one or several students to assess the impact of different commonly used management tools (biomass harvest, sod-cutting, grazing and fire) on the services these ecosystems provide. The projects will include field work at different managed heathland.
Contact Inger Kappel Schmidt iks@ign.ku.dk

Modeling ecosystem hydrology under forest change - role of tree species and climate

This project aims to understand how tree species and climate variability will impact percolation and groundwater formation under temperate forests. Forests are instrumental to maintain and improve our drinking water quality. However, it is less well known how forest development and management regime impacts the amounts of the groundwater formation in the long term. The project will use a unique experimental study site in Denmark where the groundwater level has been followed for almost 6 decades. We seek a student to combine observations with hydrological modeling to estimate the development of the forest water balance over time.
Contact Jesper Riis Christiansen jrc@ign.ku.dk

Molecular detection of airborne pathogens

Many fungal pathogens disperse by wind, but how far do the fungal spores drift and potentially infect new hosts. Danish forestry have within the last decade see an epidemic of an apparently new and aggressive pathogen Neonectria neomacrospora which in severe cases can kill even mature firs. By setting up a field experiment, collecting air samples, extracting DNA and quantifying spore loads by qPCR the aim is to assess dispersal distances and their by qualify sanitary decisions within the forestry. 
Contact Ole Kim Hansen okh@ign.ku.dk

Nature management – the impact on nutrient stoichiometry

Does increased N deposition change the composition of nutrients in soil and plant tissue and does it affect herbivorous insects.
Contact Inger Kappel Schmidt iks@ign.ku.dk

New forests on agricultural soil - assisted dispersal?

Denmark is going to double the forested area within the coming century. This will mainly take plave on former agricultural soil - how can we promote diversity of flora and fauna in a former agricultural landscape? Can and shall we use assisted dispersal?
Contact Inger Kappel Schmidt iks@ign.ku.dk

Non-destructive age determination of trees

Traditionally, age determination of standing trees is made by growth ring counts on wood cores, this being a rather large interference to the tree, and potentially inaccurate as the cores can easily miss the centre of the stem. In many tree species, growth layers are also seen in the phloem. Since the bark is mainly live tissue, the wound of a short core into the bark is easily repaired. To test this potential age determination method, this project employs our collection of tree slices providing xylem growth ring counts, and corresponding preserved bark samples for microscopic inspection. The project may address which tree species are suitable for this method, its accuracy. and the age span to which it is applicable.
Contact Hanne N Rasmussen hnr@ign.ku.dk

Nutrient removals by bioenergy harvests in broadleaf forest

The nutrient removals by bioenergy harvests are reasonably well quantified for coniferous forest species. But for broadleaf species the nutrient removals needs better quantification. We have studied nutrient cycling at two sites with several broadleaf species grown in a common garden (species grown next to each other on the same soil) and from these sites thinning trees have been sampled for their biomass, but the nutrient contents still needs to be measured and combined with the biomass data. This project can combine practical work with biomass samples with regression modelling to develop general removal estimates. This will contribute to a major research project on effects of N deposition. Contact Per Gundersen pgu@ign.ku.dk

Organic grown Christmas trees – the aphid problem

There is an increasing interest in organic grown Christmas trees, but our main species Nordmann fir has a notorious problem of getting infected by aphids, or more correct called adelgids. The project goal is to find out possibilities to overcome this problem. Previous research has included genetic resistance, alternative chemicals, and biocontrol. It is suggested to develop a method for testing adelgid susceptibility by use of detached branches, a method to be tested by own choice on different genetic material (provenances or species) and/or applications.
Contact Ulrik Braüner Nielsen ubn@ign.ku.dk, Hans Peter Ravn hpr@ign.ku.dk, Ole Kim Hansen okh@ign.ku.dk

Partitioning of soil respiration by means of stable isotopes

In the Danish beech forest “Lille Bøgeskov” continuous long-term measurements of fluxes of CO2 has been measured since June 1996. The site is therefore one of the longest running sites in the world. The traditional methods used to measure CO2 fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems do not distinguish between the two individual processes of autotrophic respiration (by plant roots) and heterotrophic respiration (by bacteria and fungi) in the soil. The project therefore seeks to separate these two fluxes by using stable isotopes techniques. The work will require 1-2 weeks of experimental work in the field followed by isotope analysis in an IRMS lab, and will be carried out either in spring, summer, autumn or winter. Depending on interest, the acquired data can be used together with existing data of soil respiration on the site in modelling.  
Contact Klaus Steenberg Larsen ksl@ign.ku.dk or Andreas Brændholt andbr@dtu.kt.dk

Phylogeography of endemic Dalbergia trees in Indochina

Indochina, the mainland part of Southeast Asia, is recognized as part of one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots with a high overall biodiversity and very high levels of endemism for both plant and animal species. The region has a complex geological and biographical history, with frequent and large historical changes in sea level and land areas, as well as in vegetation types and distribution.
This project will use phylogeography, the study of the geographic distribution of genetic lineages within species, to study how these historical events has affected the demography and distribution of two endemic timber tree species in the area, Dalbergia cochinchinensis and Dalbergia oliveri. Several hypotheses can be evaluated, e.g. what is the origin of the two species? Is there evidence of restriction to refugial forest areas in mountainous areas during earlier glacial periods? What is the effect of the Mekong River, which transects the region, on distribution and diversification of the species?
This study will be among the first of its kind in Indochina, and it is expected that the results will lead to a publication in a scientific journal.
The specific contents of the project can be subject to change depending on interests.
Contact Ida Hartvig ihla@ign.ku.dk

Post-harvest quality of Nordmann fir Christmas trees

Post-harvest needle retention is a critical consumer characteristic of a Christmas tree, and a character under strong genetic influence. Recent higher frequency of warm autumns has boosted the issues and problems of late autumn growth related to Christmas tree quality of harvested trees, indoor display and logistics. Project goal – evaluate new Danish seed orchards and compare to direct imports for traits of importance for consumer satisfaction – specially focusing on needle loss during display indoors, and/or to evaluate climate/season impact on quality. Own field and lab-trials can be performed as part of the project.
Contact Ulrik Braüner Nielsen ubn@ign.ku.dk

Prescribed burning in management of open habitats and woodlands – effects on vegetation

Experimental burnings are planned to take place in different habitats and places in Denmark as part of a project about burning as a sustainable management method of forest and open semi-natural habitats.
Contact Rita M. Buttenschøn rmb@ign.ku.dk

Proliferation of erroneous results in energy science - extent and impact

Results published in the scientific literature undergo peer review to ensure quality and correctness of the findings. The peer review process is, however, not perfect and once in a while erroneous results are published. This project explores and quantifies how erroneous results in energy science may proliferate and what impact the may have. The project includes a literature review of the general problem of published erroneous results, and a case study analysing the proliferation and impact of erroneous results from a specific article.
Contact Niclas Scott Bentsen nb@ign.ku.dk

Remote sensing methods in monitoring effects of nature management

Contact Rita M. Buttenschøn rmb@ign.ku.dk, Vivian Kvist Johannsen vkj@ign.ku.dk

Resistance of different heathland vegetation to tree colonization

Examine the resistance of different heathland vegetation to tree colonization based on seedling survival (experimental planting) at different vegetation cover.
Contact Sebastian K. Rojas skro@ign.ku.dk, Inger K. Schmidt iks@ign.ku.dk

Sampling and analysis of flora in long-term field experiment in forests through 100 years

Samling og analyse af floraundersøgelser i langsigtede feltforsøg i skove gennem 100 år. Contact Vivian Kvist Johannsen vkj@ign.ku.dk

Straw for energy

Straw from agricultural fields contribute significantly to bioenergy production in Denmark. Planning is, however, hampered by lack of accurate data on straw production. Data from a large number of field experiments feeds into this project, which develops a model for straw production based on grain yield and other variables. The aim of the project is to develop more robust methods for estimating straw production than currently available.
Contact Niclas Scott Bentsen nb@ign.ku.dk

Structures of bacterial/fungal root microbiomes of selected Fraxinus species in relation to ash dieback

Some species of Fraxinus are explicitly less susceptible to ash dieback caused by the pathogen H. fraxinues than other species. Since root microbiomes are known to contribute disease resistance in many plants, this project aims to investigate bacterial/fungal communities in rhizospheres of the Fraxinus species using state-of-the-art next generation sequencing.
Contact Lene Rostgaard Nielsen  lron@ign.ku.dk

Succession from heathland to forest – the impact of deer grazing

The deer populations can change regeneration of tree species dramatically and affect succession through selective feeding. The grazers play a significant role for both the structure and species composition of natural forests. Tree colonization has been followed for about 100 years at the abandoned 350 ha Nørholm Hede. It has shown an exponential growth for most tree species but the latest survey suggest that roe and red deer grazing seems to delay recruitment of trees. The study will include estimation of the impact of grazing and evaluation of natural deer grazing as a management tool.
Contact Inger Kappel Schmidt iks@ign.ku.dk

The bioenergy discourse

The most ancient energy service provider is bioenergy. It was almost the only energy source until the industrial revolution in the 17th century and in many countries it is still the most widespread energy service provider. But during the last few decades bioenergy has again gained traction as a renewable energy source that can provide GHG mitigation. Some researchers, NGO’s and governments claim these promises are untrue – that bioenergy can lead to e.g. deforestation, rising food prices and high emissions of GHGs. Through a literature review, this project will investigate the arguments of different actors. The purpose is not necessarily to figure out who is right or wrong, but to elaborate trends and arguments in the discourse. The project is conducted in collaboration with the Danish Energy Association.
Contact Niclas Scott Bentsen nb@ign.ku.dk

Unmanaged forests – what characterize the forested areas, which are named un-managed

The 'abandoned' forests - what characterises the forest areas, which are listed in the National Forest Inventory (NFI) as unmanaged?
Contact Vivian Kvist Johannsen vkj@ign.ku.dk

Urban biodiversity

We work with students pursuing BSc/MSc projects which seek to understand numerous aspects of urban biodiversity. Approaches take many forms ranging from actual case-studies, monitoring of species and environmental conditions and experimental methods. Projects are usually inter-disciplinary, conducted in close collaboration with landscape architects, environmental consultants and researchers from the Section for Landscape architecture and Planning.
Contact Andrew Gordon Howe andy@ign.ku.dk

Use of e-DNA for vegetation studies with focus on Orchids

Use of DNA extracted from environmental samples has provided useful in different applications, and it is therefore interesting to study how meta-barcoding based on DNA extracted from soil can be applied to predict the presence of rare species that cannot be observed all year round.
Contact Ida Hartvig ihla@ign.ku.dk

What happened to Norway spruce in the 90´ties – and what will happen in the future climate?

The health in Norway spruce stands was generally poor in the end of the 1980ies and beginning of the 1990ies, but with genetic differences in health at provenance- and individual-tree level.  A single factor triggering the decline in health was never found. The study can test if genetic differences in health observed in the 1990ies are reflected in genetic differences in the response to climate. Also, it can be investigated if the genetic differences in health reflect differences in wood anatomy. For the study, ii will be possible to sample wood cores among genotypes of Norway spruce that showed different degrees of health decline in the 1990'ies.
Contact Jon Kehlet Hansen jkh@ign.ku.dk

What is the pool of deadwood in an undisturbed forest and how much carbon does it contain?

Deadwood plays a crucial role for biodiversity in forests, however is present in very low amounts in Danish managed forests. New estimates of the pool of deadwood and its characteristics at different degrees of decomposition are available for several tree species in one of Denmarks only truly undisturbed forests, Suserup Skov. This data offers an insight in to the little known decay dynamics of deadwood in undisturbed temperate broadleaf forests and how this affects the overall pool of deadwood and the amount of organic carbon it contains. These metrics are important indicators for biodiversity.
Contact Lars Vesterdal lv@ign.ku.dk

Wild boars – a possible tool in conservation management

Should wild boars be reintroduced in Denmark to promote biodiversity? How do they affect vegetation composition and structure.
Contact Rita M. Buttenschøn rmb@ign.ku.dk

Will the use of alder as nursing tree increase nitrogen leaching from afforested soils?

Afforestation is often performed to protect the groundwater. Alder is a pioneer tree widely used to help establish other less robust tree species in afforestation projects. However alder also has the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Will this contest groundwater protection? There are no investigations of leaching from alder forests in Denmark, but data from USA and UK show that alder forests can fix up to 75 kg N/ha/year, which can result in nitrogen leaching between 30-50 kg N/ha/year. The hypothesis is that removing the alder trees at an early stage of stand development will not result in elevated N leaching as the small trees and other undergrowth are able to take up the excess nitrogen The student can perform a comparative study of extractable nitrate concentrations in soil water in forests where alder was used as nursing tree and in tree species trials where alder is present in monoculture stands.
Contact Per Gundersen pgu@ign.ku.dk

Windpower in the energy system

There has been a rapid development in Danish and European wind power generation. This poses a challenge to the existing energy system because of the intermittence of wind power generation. Additionally, the high fluctuations of wind power generation influences the price of electricity reducing it drastically in periods with high wind speeds. This project investigates different opportunities and technologies to store wind power. It is also possible to model how different prices will affect the electricity markets and hereby investments in renewable energy generation. The project is conducted in collaboration with the Danish Energy Association.
Contact Niclas Scott Bentsen nb@ign.ku.dk

Wood pellets and sustainability

Denmark and other countries are in the process of bio-converting coal fired power plants so they can accept wood pellets or wood chips. The demand for wood fuels will thus grow rapidly in the coming years and this has led to questions about how sustainable this development is.  A number of countries have thus imposed sustainability requirements for imported wood pellets. This project will take a look at how different countries have chosen to regulate the use of wood pellets in centralized power plants in the EU. Are these regulations sufficient to ensure environmental sustainability or are they nothing but “greenwashing” from an industry that takes advantage of the low duties on wood fuels compared to fossil fuels. Does sustainable biomass offer real GHG emission mitigation compared to coal, natural gas and marginal electricity generation? The project is conducted in collaboration with the Danish Energy Association.
Contact Niclas Scott Bentsen nb@ign.ku.dk

Finalised theses from 2015-2016

  • Adaptive Management Planning and Implementation in Ecological Restoration: A Case Study Analysis of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Watershed. krr@ign.ku.dk
  • Andreas Christof MSc: Pit dimensions in xylem. lgt@ign.ku.dk
  • Assessing biodiversity in formal and informal green spaces of Copenhagen. andy@ign.ku.dk, abn@ign.ku.dk
  • Assessing forest resources in Denmark using wall-to-wall remote sensing data, Ph.D. Thesis. tnl@ign.ku.dk
  • Assessment of the Canada goose. hpr@ign.ku.dk
  • Biodiversitet i byen, B.Sc. hpr@ign.ku.dk, andy@ign.ku.dk
  • Crane flies in managed and unmanaged forests. SKRO@ign.ku.dk
  • Dækrodsplanter - udvikling af rodsymmetri og enkelttræstability. pam@ign.ku.dk
  • Dead wood accumulation across nutrient gradient. iks@ign.ku.dk
  • Development of the soil and understory vegetation in oak and beech forests on sandy and moraine soils. iks@ign.ku.dk
  • Dispersal ecology of the climate adapted urban landscape. andy@ign.ku.dk, mbj@ign.ku.dk
  • Drought effects on fire recovery in the native California grass, purple needlegrass (Stipa pulchra). krr@ign.ku.dk
  • Effects of severe weather events on regeneration of vegetation and soil properties in a heathland. iks@ign.ku.dk
  • Elena Diago Blay MSc: The next periurban forest in Copenhagen? A land fill restoration story. JBL@ign.ku.dk
  • Eucalyptus and Paulownia as future energy crops in Denmark? nb@ign.ku.dk
  • Evaluation of the effects of the LIFE project REMAB on the breeding potential of the meadow birds Baltic dunlin (Calidris alpina schinzii), Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) and Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa) at Nyord and Vestamager. rmb@ign.ku
  • Evolution of a barrier island, vegetation cover and climate change. A case study from Stokken. rmb@ign.ku.dk
  • Facilitating Temperate Forest Garden Development. Creating Tools through Participatory Action Research. JBL@ign.ku.dk
  • Flora og billefauna på Langholmen, Utterslev Mose. hpr@ign.ku.dk, andy@ign.ku.dk
  • Food preferences of red deer in Høstemark, Lille Vildmose. rmb@ign.ku.dk
  • Fra hedebonde til hedepleje. rmb@ign.ku.dk
  • Fugitive emissions from coal seam gas operations - How could a management standard help responsible invstors? nb@ign.ku.dk
  • Ground beetles in managed and unmanaged forests on Zealand. SKRO@ign.ku.dk
  • Growth ring features of Picea abies in relation to climate change. hnr@ign.ku.dk, jbl@ign.ku.dk
  • Heathland management: effects of management regimes on nutrient pools and biodiversity. iks@ign.ku.dk
  • How does bioenergy harvesting impact on a Danish heathland as compared to traditional burning. iks@ign.ku.dk
  • Identifying the role of the management approach and the project manager on landowner participation in river restoration: Two case studies of Skjern River and Tullstorp Stream. krr@ign.ku.dk
  • Improving the forest floor: Success assessment of turf transplant in birch woodland restoration.
  • Interaction of epiphytic orchid seeds with bark surfaces. HNR@ign.ku.dk
  • Landscape laboratory and biodiversity Århus. andy@ign.ku.dk, abn@ign.ku.dk
  • Lea Brinkjær Andersen MSc: A  valuation of two Danish Systems for assessing conservation status of specific forest nature types. JBL@ign.ku.dk, vkj@ign.ku.dk
  • Løbebillefaunaens vilkår i fragmenteret bynatur B.Sc. andy@ign.ku.dk, hpr@ign.ku.dk
  • Management of invasive Spartina at Læsø. rmb@ign.ku.dk
  • Management of military heathlands in Denmark iks@ign.ku.dk, rmb@ign.ku.dk
  • Meta-barcoding reveals high contribution of shrubs and trees in the European Bison diet on Bornholm. rmb@ign.ku.dk, andy@ign.ku.dk, ihla@ign.ku.dk
  • Microhabitats for Cavity-nesting Bees and Selection of Plant Species to the Green Climate Screen. andy@ign.ku.dk
  • Nature Quality of wooded meadows, Gisselfeldt. rmb@ign.ku.dk
  • Nature2000 forest habitat types. A comparison of approaches used in Denmark, Germany, and the UK for assessing conservation status under the EU Habitat Directive article vkj@ign.ku.dk, jbl@ign.ku.dk
  • Naturnær skovdrift, evaluering af skovejendom jbl@ign.ku.dk
  • Naturpleje/naturplejestrategi for fortidsminder i Lejre Kommune rmb@ign.ku.dk
  • Planlægning af naturområderne omkring Skamlingsbanken rmb@ign.ku.dk   
  • Plejeplan for Bjergene, Odsherred Kommune rmb@ign.ku.dk
  • Plejeplan for Eskebjerg Vesterlyng rmb@ign.ku.dk  
  • Potentials for increasing biomass production in regeneration of beech by use of nurse crops.
  • Short-term response of terrestrial vegetation to five restoration treatments in the riparian area of the Øle Å. krr@ign.ku.dk
  • Spatial heterogeneity of two Danish heathlands under different human management practices. iks@ign.ku.dk
  • Technical-Economic feasibility study of a stand-alone hybrid Renewable Energy System in Karpathos and Kassos, two off-grid Greek Islands in the Aegean Sea. nb@ign.ku.dk
  • The carbon debt of woody biomass for bioenergy in the EU. nb@ign.ku.dk
  • The concept of ecosystem services in heathland management. iks@ign.ku.dk
  • The Energy-Water Nexus of the EU region under a changing climate and transitioning energy system. nb@ign.ku.dk
  • The impact of flooding of Quercus robur and Quercus rubra caused by increased precipitation. hnr@ign.ku.dk
  • The impact of flooding of Quercus robur and Quercus rubra caused by increased precipitation. ica@ign.ku.dk
  • The potential for integrating PV solar panels into the Danish Energy Sytem in the Future. nb@ign.ku.dk
  • The potential for implimenting a solar-wind hybrid solution in UNDP Country Office around the Globe. nb@ign.ku.dk
  • Unintended or unanticipated consequences - The indirect greenhouse gas effects of wood pellet consumption for energy generation. nb@ign.ku.dk
  • Woodland grazing and its effects at forest structure and vegetation composition in Grib Skov. rmb@ign.ku.dk