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Soil biodiversity function in enhancement of tree establishment and growth in urban settings.


   School of Natural Science

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  Dr K Butt  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Within the built environment, there is a growing desire to have the presence of a natural element, to assist with general wellbeing of those who work and live there. However, trees planted in urban settings often suffer from poor growth and survival, partially attributable to poor soil conditions, soil compaction and moisture stress. Soil quality, its carbon and nutrient content and particularly living soil components, which drive the nutrient cycling processes, are likely to be critical aspects of tree survival and growth. These vital factors have been largely overlooked in the urban realm despite supporting evidence from woodland creation.

This project aims to investigate the effects of soil invertebrates (particularly earthworms and microarthropods) in enhancement of tree establishment and growth within the built environment. The role of these soil biotic groups as biological indicators of soil quality will be investigated, including within engineered tree-pit systems - frequently used yet challenging planting sites. This will build on current research into urban tree health and vigour, with baseline physical and chemical data gathered for a range of prominent sites including the Olympic Legacy Park, and Wembley Stadium. The project will benefit from investigations of soil biota as indicators of soil quality in urban systems.

Specific objectives will Investigate:

  • Soil parameters and relations to tree quality indicators for a range of built environmental settings;
  • Role of biota inoculations at improving tree quality;
  • Impact of made-soil quality on biota inoculation.

This project is a collaboration between the School of Natural Sciences at UCLan and Forest Research. The supervisory team will have members from each and encompass expertise across all aspects of the project.

Further information

Informal project related enquiries about the post can be made to Dr Kevin Butt – [Email Address Removed]  

For the application form and full details go to: https://www.uclan.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/studentships 

Completed application forms should be returned to the Research Admissions email [Email Address Removed]  quoting the studentship reference number DTC02 


Funding Notes

The studentship is tenable for up to 3.5 years full-time (subject to satisfactory progress). The studentship will provide an annual stipend of £17,668 for 3.5 years. Both UK/Home and EU/International Applicants may apply but Tuition Fees will only be covered at the UK/Home rate for up to 3.5 years. EU/International Applicants would be expected to pay the difference between the UK/Home fee rate and EU/International fee rate. Other Allowances include up to £5,000 per annum bench fees.
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