In the SUSALPS project, we aim at enhancing our knowledge on the effects of future climate and management on the ecosystem services provided by montane grassland soils.
Climate projections show increasing average temperatures and more frequent periods without rain. To assess the ecosystem services provided by grassland soils under changed climatic conditions, soil cores are translocated from higher elevation to lower elevation. As temperature increases and precipitation decreases with lower elevation, the translocation represents a climate change analogy ("space for time experiment"). Soil cores are taken at the grassland sites Esterberg (1260 m), Graswang (850 m), Fendt (600 m) and Bayreuth (340 m).
The soil cores used in this project have a diameter of 30 cm. Their height depends on the thickness of the soil and amounted to 25 cm at site Esterberg, due to the shallow soil there. At all other sites, 40 cm high soil cores could be taken.
The shells of the soil cores were brought into the ground by means of a tamper and cut out afterwards. For this purpose, a custom made cutter was attached to the cantilever of a mini excavator.
In a concerted action incolving all project partners, soil samples were taken during the cutting of the soil cores. Subsequently, the cores were transported to their respective destinations and installed in soil trenches.