Soil Fertility and Soil Protection
To gain a better understanding of the interactions between soil processes and other environmental compartments, we investigate the relationship between the chemical and physical soil environment – especially its structural characteristics – and soil organisms (population structure and activity of microorganisms). We are particularly interested in the regeneration potential of soil properties. The findings from these tasks are used together with site- and soil-specific knowledge for the assessment and development of agricultural management techniques for sustainable land use. For practical purposes of soil protection, we test methods for the long-term observation of soil properties, develop soil indicators, and assess the risks of chemical and physical soil pollution. By analysing soil profiles, mapping soils in the landscape and developing interpretation tools, we provide information and tools for land-use and regional-planning purposes.
Soil Health in Fruits and Vegetables
Replant diseases in fruit production affect tree growth and reduce yields when orchards are replanted.
Carbon-based soil amendments like biochar are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, biochar serves as a soil improver and can bind pollutants; on the other, it is not free of pollutants itself. Our work aims to take into account both aspects.
Effect of Agricultural Management on Soil Structure and Functions
Soil structure influences important soil functions such as the transport and storage of water, gases, nutrients and pollutants in the soil, water storage in catchment areas of bodies of water and surface runoff, as well as gas exchange between soil and atmosphere.