Teresa Gómez de la Bárcena

Research Scientist

(+47) 405 56 025

Ås H7

Visiting address
Høgskoleveien 7, 1433 Ås


Cultivated organic soils account for ∼7% of Norway’s agricultural land area, and they are estimated to be a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The project ‘Climate smart management practices on Norwegian organic soils’ (MYR), commissioned by the Research Council of Norway (decision no. 281109), aims to evaluate GHG (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) emissions and impacts on biomass productivity from three land use types (cultivated, abandoned and restored) on organic soils. At the cultivated sites, impacts of drainage depth and management intensity will be measured. We established experimental sites in Norway covering a broad range of climate and management regimes, which will produce observational data in high spatiotemporal resolution during 2019-2021. Using state-of-the-art modelling techniques, MYR aims to predict the potential GHG mitigation under different scenarios. Four models (BASGRA, DNDC, Coup and ECOSSE) will be further developed according to the soil properties, and then used independently in simulating biogeochemical processes and biomass dynamics in the different land uses. Robust parameterization schemes for each model will be based in the observational data from the project for both soil and crop combinations. Eventually, a multi-model ensemble prediction will be carried out to provide scenario analyses by 2030 and 2050. By integrating experimental results and modelling, the project aims at generating useful information for recommendations on environment-friendly use of Norwegian peatlands.


Cultivated organic soils (7-8% of Norway’s agricultural land area) are economically important sources for forage production in some regions in Norway, but they are also ‘hot spots’ for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The project ‘Climate smart management practices on Norwegian organic soils’ (MYR; funded by the Research Council of Norway, decision no. 281109) will evaluate how water table management and the intensity of other management practices (i.e. tillage and fertilization intensity) affects both GHG emissions and forage’s quality & production. The overall aim of MYR is to generate useful information for recommendations on climate-friendly management of Norwegian peatlands for both policy makers and farmers. For this project, we established two experimental sites on Norwegian peatlands for grass cultivation, of which one in Northern (subarctic, continental climate) and another in Southern (temperate, coastal climate) Norway. Both sites have a water table level (WTL) gradient ranging from low to high. In order to explore the effects of management practices, controlled trials with different fertilization strategies and tillage intensity will be conducted at these sites with WTL gradients considered. Meanwhile, GHG emissions (including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide), crop-related observations (e.g. phenology, production), and hydrological conditions (e.g. soil moisture, WTL dynamics) will be monitored with high spatiotemporal resolution along the WTL gradients during 2019-2021. Besides, MYR aims at predicting potential GHG mitigation under different scenarios by using state-of-the-art modelling techniques. Four models (BASGRA, Coup, DNDC and ECOSSE), with strengths in predicting grass growth, hydrological processes, soil nitrification-denitrification and carbon decomposition, respectively, will be further developed according to the soil properties. Then these models will be used independently to simulate biogeochemical and agroecological processes in our experimental fields. Robust parameterization schemes will be based on the observational data for both soil and crop combinations. Eventually, a multi-model ensemble prediction will be carried out to provide scenario analyses by 2030 and 2050. We will couple these process-based models with optimization algorithm to explore the potential reduction in GHG emissions with consideration of production sustenance, and upscale our assessment to regional level.


Tree species change has been suggested as one of the government policies to mitigate climate change in Nor-way with the aim to increase the annual uptake of CO2 and the long-term storage of carbon (C) in forests. The strategy includes replacing native, deciduous species with fast-growing species, mainly Norway spruce. A shift in tree species is expected to affect the pools and fluxes of C in the stand as well as the microbial community. As part of the BalanC project, we assess C storage related to shift in tree species cover in western Norway and whether a corresponding shift in soil microbial communities are happening. The study aim at integrating results on soil respiration, C mineralization, soil stability, diversity of bacteria, fungi and micro-eukaryotes, soil nutrient pools, litter inputs and edaphic factors at the stand level in order to identify key drivers for changes in the soil C stocks. Fifteen paired plots of native birch and planted Norway spruce at five locations were sampled. Prelimi-nary results suggests a redistribution of C from the mineral soil to the forest floor in the spruce stands, with minor changes in the total soil C pools over the 45-60 years since the tree species change. The in situ soil respi-ration and heterothropic respiration, as well as C mineralization rates, were higher in birch than in spruce stands. Differences in C mineralization rates attenuate with depth between forest types. The microbial com-munities of the three organismal groups were all strongly structured along the vertical depth.

To document


Conversion from agriculture to forestry is considered a measure for mitigation of atmospheric CO2 but the impacts on soil C and N processes remain still unclear. We investigated heterotrophic respiration (RH), specific carbon mineralization (CMIN) and nitrogen mineralization (NMIN) in Norway spruce (Picea abies (Karst.) L.) and oak (Quercus robur L.) chronosequences on former cropland by laboratory incubation. The RH was estimated as the release of C per gram soil and CMIN as the release of C per gram of soil organic matter (SOM). Seven Norway spruce stands (16–44 years), eight oak stands (4–43 years), a cropland, a 35 years old permanent pasture and a 200-year-old oak-dominated forest were sampled (0–5 cm and 5–15 cm soil layers) in early spring. The SOM content gradually increased with stand age in 0–5 cm but remained the same in the 5–15 cm soil layer. The RH in the 0–5 cm layer gradually increased with time since afforestation in both tree species while there was no change in CMIN. In 5–15 cm, neither RH nor CMIN changed significantly after afforestation, but oak stands had significantly higher RH than Norway spruce. The NMIN and nitrification in 0–5 cm significantly increased with stand age and only nitrification was higher in oak. In 5–15 cm, only NMIN in oak increased with stand age, but both NMIN and nitrification were significantly higher in oak than spruce. Cropland RH, CMIN and NMIN rates were comparable to those found within the first decades of afforestation, whereas the 200-year-old forest and the pasture generally had RH and NMIN rates similar to the older chronosequence stands. We conclude that potential RH and soil N mineralization increased with time since afforestation and were tree species specific. Soil organic C stock gains observed in this area during the first 45 years after afforestation were not driven by decreased SOM decomposability, leaving increased litter C inputs as a more likely explanation. The lower CMIN in the 200-year-old forest suggests that future studies should include older forests to assess if the stability of C and the retention of N may increase in a longer term perspective.