Active Projects

Active Projects
  • GrassC: Feasibility Survey of Soil Carbon in  Irish Grasslands

Short Summary of Proposed Research:

We propose a desk-top study on a feasibility survey of soil carbon in Irish grasslands.  We will do a literature review on the carbon sequestration of grassland soils and collate all Irish data on SOC (concentration, bulk density etc) including site information, land use history, land use management practices, site climate, etc.  We will review statistical methods to enable SOC stock and stock changes to be quantified with defined precision (e.g. MDD) and assess the suitability of different methodologies (paired plots, repeat sampling, chronosequence work etc) to identify the optimum methodology for use in Irish conditions. We will evaluate the suitability of existing and new sites and identify a suite of suitable sites and measurements for a future survey. We will carry out a theoretical analysis of the controls and drivers of the equilibrium SOC rate and of the rate at which fields approach their equilibrium (saturation). We will review existing SOC models (e,g CENTURY, RothC, etc) to compliment measurements and identify the optimum model for Irish conditions, while specifying in what capacity the models would be used (e.g. fill gaps, examine climate change and land use change scenarios, etc) and compile a Final Report. 

Short Statement on expected outputs:

We will deliver three peer review publications: one – a review paper on carbon sequestration in grassland soils; two – a review paper on statistical methods related to sample size and minimum detectable differences: three – a review of sampling methodologies (paired plot, chronosequence, repeat sampling).  We will deliver a CD of all data collected for the EPA archive. With a Masters Student and Postdoc we will be building capacity in this vital area. In addition we will deliver a comprehensive Final Report of eight chapters (one each for each sub-workpackage).

The objectives of ForestC are as follows:

  1. To determine soil C stocks at 60 forest sites throughout Ireland and to use these data to develop a quantitative assessment of C stocks in Irish forest soils.
  2. To determine the effect of afforestation and deforestation on CO2 and CH4 dynamics in peat soils and to develop CO2 and CH4 emission factors for afforested and deforested blanket peat.
  3. To determine the effect of broad-leaf afforestation of mineral soils on soil C stocks.
  4. To investigate the effect of afforestation on CO2 and N2O fluxes in grassland.

There are disparate sources on historical climate and extreme events in Ireland. However, no broad scale survey of extreme events, climatic change, and the impacts thereof has been undertaken. This project seeks to combine knowledge from the direct observational record, the proxy record and the historical record. Information from these disparate sources will be synthesised into a comprehensive study of the interaction of climate and society in Ireland from first settlement to the modern day. The scope of this project, both in temporal coverage and types of sources, is unique. An interdisciplinary approach is proposed as the interpretation of each type of source requires specific expertise. A wikispace facilitates cross-site and cross-discipline collaboration.

This project is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency under the STRIVE programme.

This pilot project is based on the already existing, but inefficient flood warning system in on the river Blackwater in Mallow. The communication infrastructure has been improved to as well as the addition of a website which allows the river monitoring sites to be viewed on the internet. Flood prediction models will be created from current and past data from river monitoring sites both in close proximity and further a field from the areas most at risk and also from rain gauges in the local area.

Long term it is hoped that the project will be used in other parts of the country that are similarly prone to flooding.

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