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Quantifying carbon change in afforested soils

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 06, 2017
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Deforestation is a major global driver of soil carbon loss. Soil carbon is central to ecosystem functioning including the regulation of climate change, and quantifying the effects of deforestation on soil carbon stocks has been a major research focus. How soil carbon stocks respond to forest planting is less well quantified but nonetheless crucial.

Although net forest loss continues globally, forest cover is expanding in many regions including Europe, China and India, and afforestation is increasingly promoted as a climate change solution. Effects of planting trees on soil carbon depend on a complex mix of past and future climate land management and nutrient inputs, soil type, and geology. We need to understand how these factors influence carbon stocks and timescales of recovery if we are to make robust decisions on where, when and how to reforest the Earth. In this studentship you will: - Explore the key mechanisms and drivers affecting soil carbon under afforestation, through data analysis, field experiments and process-based modelling; - Quantify afforested soil carbon change across time and space; and - Develop knowledge that supports decision-making in public and private sectors.

What’s in it for you? You will:
- Develop a highly valuable, transferable set of skills from field studies to modelling. NERC recently named modelling as the number 1 most wanted skill in the postgraduate environment sector. You will apply these skills to advancing our understanding of plant-soil ecosystem function and global change.
- Connect with research institutes and global corporations through project partners: the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and Forest Research.
- Join an exciting research environment, as part of Lancaster Environment Centre’s large and vibrant community, the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business, and Environment Centre Wales which includes Bangor University and Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Bangor.

Full studentships are available to UK and EU candidates who have been ordinarily resident in the UK throughout the 3-year period immediately preceding the date of an award. EU candidates who have not been resident in the UK for the last 3 years are eligible for "tuition fees-only" awards (no maintenance grant).

Funding Notes

We are seeking applications from graduates or those who expect to graduate in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree at 2:1 level or equivalent, or a Master’s degree. You should either have a strong background in environmental science and demonstrable skills or interest in modelling, or a strong modelling and simulation background with a demonstrable interest in learning more about the natural environment.

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