The project ‘The interactions between trees and ground vegetation for organic nitrogen uptake via ericoid and ectomycorrhizal fungi’ (NITROFUNGI), conducted at University of Helsinki 2012-2017, employees three researchers. The aim is to investigate how changes in climatic conditions affect carbon (C) storage ability of the boreal forest soils. It has been shown that nitrogen (N) has a key role in the decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) because the need for N partly controls SOM decomposition. Fungi are important decomposers of SOM and some fungi form symbiosis with forest trees and shrubs. The interaction between SOM decomposition, soil organic N uptake, symbiotic fungi and forest plants will be studied using modern methods from stable isotopes and radiocarbon dating to molecular biology. The results improve our knowledge on the effect of climate change on soil C and N storage pools, and provide data to improve ecosystem-scale models used to predict forest growth in the changing climate.

Figure 1. The schematic presentation of the trenching and mesh bag experiment in the field.