Regefor Workshops 2013

Is management of soil fertility at a turning point?

Erwin Dreyer ( Présidence du Centre Inra de Nancy-Lorraine )

Co-applicants: AgroParisTech, Université de Lorraine, GIP Ecofor


Context The project of rapid increase in biomass harvest, particularly for energy purposes, the changes in production and harvesting systems, and the pronounced global change, especially for climate, lead to the following fundamental questions: is forest soils able to support these additional stresses in the long term? In other words, is management of soil fertility at a turning point? How to manage these changes while combining constant production and sustainability of forest ecosystems for all their functions?

Facing these stresses and changes, how will forest soils behave, given their limited fertility and resiliency? The forest vegetation is well adapted to these conditions, producing significant biomass thanks to efficient nutrient cycling, and to efficient microbial associations for mobilizing nutrients from both organic and mineral sources.

Will it be possible to maintain such an efficiency, particularly in conditions of water deficit in poor soils? What will be the required preservation measure? What remediation approaches can we advise?

Objectives The objectives of the workshop are to go through the state of the art in the scientific field of soil fertility, to stimulate exchanges between scientists and managers, and to discuss the practical aspects for managing soil fertility. All the forestry scenarii will be considered, under both technical and socio economical aspects.

Approaches Strategic points will be examined:

  • Analysis of the main constraints to forests,
  • Current knowledge on main processes controlling the bioavailability of nutrients in forest soils,
  • Relevance of monitoring tools (e.g. networks and experimental sites), of simulation tools, and of decision support schemes,
  • Response of soils to constraints and soil resilience,
  • Soil management and more specifically compensation of nutrient export and remediation to damaged soils,
  • Soil and ecosystem functions/services while changing forest management practices.