Soil survey of reforestation sites in the Ecuadorian Andes

(07-03-2022) A team of Cuenca University and Ghent University set out in the North-Western slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes to visit reforestation sites during two weeks in February.

During this first field survey, data was collected in observational plots to discover the role of soils in reforestation success. In total 41 plots were visited, in which soil samples, wood density cores and data of local site conditions were collected. PhD student Franklin Marín led the survey as part of his ongoing research into forest recovery in the Ecuadorian Andes. As part of the team, Ghent University student Nina Overtoom focused on the role of soils in reforestation success. The team was further supported by Daniel, Jhonny and Wilson from Cuenca University. The reforestation sites cover a variety of conditions including climate in relation to the elevation, past land use, forest management and variety of tree species. The collected data will help provide insight into the relationship between trees and soil conditions. As reforestation is of great importance for carbon storage, it is essential to identify the balance between carbon stored in aboveground and belowground biomass and how this balance differs between reforestation sites. In four weeks, the second field survey in the remaining sites in North-Western Ecuador will take place to collect more data.

The field work is part of COFOREC I and II (funded by VLIR-UOS), with close collaboration between Ghent University, Cuenca University and EPN Quito.