Project properties

Title Impact of solar parks on spatial distribution of SOM and vegetation dynamics
Group Soil Biology
Project type thesis
Credits 24-39
Supervisor(s) Luuk Scholten, Gerlinde De Deyn
Examiner(s) prof.dr. Rachel Creamer
Contact info;
Begin date 2022/09/01
End date
Description Introduction: Solar parks are a relatively new and rapidly expanding land use to produce renewable energy and meet CO2 reduction targets. However, their impact on soil quality of agricultural fields raises concern. Solar parks cause shading and change the microclimate below the panels, thereby influencing vegetation and soil processes. By reducing light availability to the vegetation, solar parks are expected to reduce plant carbon inputs, which is vital to maintain SOM, therefore risking soil degradation in solar parks. SOM content not only depends on plant inputs, but also on the rate of its decomposition through the activity of soil biota, The activity of soil biota and plants are dependent on microclimatic conditions. However, to date, it is unknown how solar parks impact soil ecosystem services and soil quality.
The aims of this thesis are to determine the spatial distribution (below / between the panels) of SOM, vegetation quantity and quality and decomposition in solar parks within the Netherlands.
Used skills Field sampling vegetation samples (October 2022), literature review, writing proposal and thesis, experimental design, laboratory work, data analysis, including existing data from soil samples (taken in May and/or July 2022).
Requirements MSc SBL thesis requirements (SBL-81836)