Renée Hermans

PhD Research Student

MSc Climate Studies, Wageningen University (2012)
BSc Forest- and Nature conservation, Wageningen University (2010)

Supervisors: Dr. Jens-Arne Subke (University of Stirling), Dr. Neil Cowie (RSPB), Dr. Yit Arn Teh (University of St. Andrews), Dr. Roxane Andersen (Environmental Research Institute/UHI)

Start Date: 1st November 2012

4V11, Cottrell Building
Biological & Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Stirling
Stirling
Scotland
FK9 4LA

tel: +44 (0)1786 466550
fax: +44 (0)1786 467843
email:Renée Hermans

Research Project

Climate impacts of blanket peat bog restoration from forestry in the Flow Country, Scotland

The Flow country in the far North of Scotland has the largest expanse of blanket peat bog in Europe. With peat depths of up to over 6 metres in places, this area represents a significant carbon store. Large parts of the Flows were drained for afforestation with non-native conifers during the 1980s, which resulted in considerable damage to the peat and leading to significant carbon loss. To restore the peats, the RSPB started in late 1990 to fell trees and block drains. Over 2000 ha of forestry are already felled and in the next few years a further 200 ha will be felled within a newly acquired plantation.

The main objective of my PhD is to measure the impact of forest removal on the budget of three main greenhouse gases, CO2, CH4 and N2O. For this I will be using closed chambers, to be able to look into the local variations of the fluxes. Measurements will be taken over four years, so I will also look at temporal variations. These measurements will be done in open, undisturbed bog (control plot), in forest, in recently felled areas and in areas that were felled up to 15 years ago, so there will be chronosequence to follow the effects of restoration. For up-scaling of the fluxes to ecosystem level I will use remote sensing and GIS in combination with empirical modelling. Further I am interested in the fungal and bacterial responses to felling, and what their GHG flux contributions are.

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